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Old dynamite poses potential danger

old dynamite

The RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit is warning of the danger posed by degraded and deteriorated dynamite. PHOTO COURTESY THE RCMP

The RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit has issued a warning to people about aging dynamite.
Cpl. Paul Zanon said in a news release there is a large, but unquantified, amount of degraded and deteriorated dynamite in Alberta.
That is the result of historic rules that permitted easy access to dynamite for farmers and ranchers — a lot of which is decaying in barns and fields.
Over time the dynamite “weeps” or “sweats” chemicals which crystalize and form on the outside of the dynamite and can then pool in the bottom of boxes or storage containers.
This creates an extremely dangerous situation where if the materials are jarred even the slightest the chemical becomes unstable and can possibly lead to detonation.
In addition to sticks of dynamite, Zanon said it is important to note that copper detonators containing lead azide were produced in Canada from 1918 to 1965 and are still being stored in older homesteads within the province.
If exposed to moisture these detonators can produce an explosive gas and the slightest change in environment can cause degradation in less than one hour leading to an extremely dangerous situation.
The RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit urges Albertans to be cautious of what they find on their properties.
People are also asked to speak with elderly members of their families prior to clearing out older out-buildings in order to determine if there could be explosives on site.
If you suspect that you may have some of these materials on your land call your local RCMP detachment to have the materials safely disposed of.
Zanon said people should not touch or move the explosives.