A potentially deadly chemical has spilled in Motueka.

Hydrogen cynamide can kill if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin, or can cause severe skin and eye irritation.

Police are advising people to avoid the corner of High St and Tudor St while emergency services clean up the chemical, which has leaked from a barrol on the back of a truck onto the road. Nearby residents are advised to stay indoors and keep their windows shut.

Fire, police and ambulance services are at the site and contractors have been called in to clear up the spill.

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Hydrogen cynamide, more commonly known as Hi-Cane, is sprayed on kiwifruit vines to kill lichen and scale insects.