MISSOULA, Mont. — City of Missoula and University of Montana police officers are searching for a vial of toxic potassium cyanide that was apparently removed from a University of Montana laboratory.

Officials said late Wednesday the clear vial about half full of white powder with a white lid may have been discarded near campus, but it has not been located.

Officers notified the public about the poison and asked that if someone finds it to call 911 and not to handle it.

Potassium cyanide can produce toxic hydrogen cyanide gas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says exposure to the gas interferes with the body’s ability to use oxygen and can be fatal.

University of Montana officials did not immediately return calls Thursday seeking to learn how the lab used potassium cyanide and how police learned it was missing.

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