Aluminium phosphide is a fumigant used to destroy pests in food storage areas such as grain silos. It is typically available as tablets, granules, dust or powder.
Separate and ventilate—Fumigating a silo? - poster (PDF 1982 kb)
What are the dangers of aluminium phosphide?
Extreme care must be taken when handling and storing aluminium phosphide. When exposed to air or moisture aluminium phosphide will generate phosphine gas, which acts as a fumigant or pesticide. Even at low concentrations this chemical has the potential to cause harm and adversely affect people's health and wellbeing.
Details of the aluminium phosphide classification are as follows:
- chemical name: aluminium phosphide
- Classification: dangerous when wet
- class: 4.3
- UN No.: 1347.
What are the health effects of phosphine gas?
Phosphine gas is very toxic. It is possible to be severely poisoned or die from exposure to the gas in enclosed spaces such as vehicle cabins.
Phosphine gas has a very pungent smell and its odour has been described as similar to garlic, carbide or decaying fish. However, by the time the odour is detected, the gas has already been present for some time, and poisoning has already occurred.
The main symptoms include:
- mild poisoning—indefinite feeling of sickness, ringing in the ears, fatigue, nausea and pressure in the chest
- moderate poisoning—weakness, vomiting, pain just above the stomach, chest pain, diarrhoea and difficulty breathing
- severe poisoning—fluid in the lungs, dizziness, blue or purple skin colour, unconsciousness and death.
How do I safely transport aluminium phosphide?
Never transport aluminium phosphide in the same cabin space as:
Transportation should be on the back of a ute, truck or in a trailer, with the items well secured, and in an adequately ventilated container.
Remember - separate and ventilate!