The Queensland Police Service is urging Queensland beachgoers to avoid handling silver canisters washed up on beaches and to immediately call Triple Zero (000) to report them to authorities.
Police have received reports of them being located along the coastline between Lady Elliot Island in the south to Mabuiag Island in the north with the most recent being discovered at Zilzie near Rockhampton.
The canisters are described as being approximately 30cm high and 15cm in diameter and contain Aluminium Phosphide, which could be fatal if inhaled or ingested.
Aluminium Phosphide is a colorless, flammable and toxic gas. Mild exposure by inhalation causes indefinite feeling of sickness, ringing in the ears, fatigue, nausea and pressure in the chest which is relieved by getting away from the gas and getting fresh air.
The chemical, when exposed to air or moisture, can generate the highly toxic phosphine gas that could also self ignite in the right conditions.
It is not known where these canisters originate.
If you locate one of these canisters, or any similar type of container, police urge you to call 000 to report the discovery. Do not attempt to move or open these canisters.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.
For all non-urgent police reporting or general police inquiries contact Policelink on 131 444.