Inspectors risk inhaling dangerous chemicals as they enter shipping containers. Many containers have high levels of acutely toxic or cancer-causing chemical vapors even if they carry seemingly harmless goods. These hazardous vapors may be emitted from the goods or may be residues of fumigants that were added to kill pests.
Numerous chemicals may be present in container air on arrival to the warehouse. They were either added as fumigants or, more commonly, emitted from the goods. The container is very tight, therefore the gases accumulate in container air during transport. Inspectors tunneling into the container are at extra risk, as they are surrounded by goods that block passive ventilation.
One of eight containers that arrived in Sweden had high levels of dangerous chemicals.
The peak exposure during opening the doors may be as high as 70% of the level inside the container.
The deeper parts of a tightly packed container are not ventilated by simply leaving the doors open.
Hazardous gases in container air are quickly eliminated by active ventilation using extraction equipment from Evaqvent. The ventilation can be carried out with closed doors. The slight vacuum created inside the container forces fresh air to enter via small openings and cracks and the extracted air is released outdoors at safe distance.