Health risks in international container and bulk cargo transport due to volatile toxic compounds

Xaver Baur, Lygia T Budnik, Zhiwei Zhao, Magne Bratveit, Rune Djurhuus, Frederico Rubino, Louis Vershoor, Claudio Colosio, Jørgen Riis Jepsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

To ensure the preservation and quality of the goods, physical (i.e. radiation) or chemical pest control is needed. The
dark side of such consents may bear health risks in international transport and production sharing. In fact, between
10% and 20% of all containers arriving European harbors were shown to contain volatile toxic substances above
the exposure limit values. Possible exposure to these toxic chemicals may occur not only for the applicators but
also the receiver by off gassing from products, packing materials or transport units like containers. A number of
intoxications, some with lethal outcome, occur not only during the fumigation, but also during freight transport
(on bulk carriers and other transport vessels), as well as in the logistic lines during loading and unloading. Risk
occupations include dock-workers, seafarers, inspectors, as well as the usually uninformed workers of importing
enterprises that unload the products. Bystanders as well as vulnerable consumers may also be at risk. Ongoing
studies focus on the release of these toxic volatile substances from various goods. It was shown that the half-lives
of the off-gassing process range between minutes and months, depending on the toxic substance, its chemical
reactivity, concentration, the temperature, the contaminated matrix (goods and packing materials), and the packing
density in the transport units. Regulations on declaration and handling dangerous goods are mostly not followed.
It is obvious that this hazardous situation in freight transport urgently requires preventive steps. In order to improve
awareness and relevant knowledge there is a need for more comprehensive information on chemical hazards and a
broader implementation of the already existing regulations and guidelines, such as those from ILO, IMO, and
national authorities. It is also necessary to have regular controls by the authorities on a worldwide scale, which
should be followed by sanctions in case of disregarding regulations. Further, fumigated containers must have a
warning sign corresponding to international recommendations and national regulations, and freight documents
have to indicate any potential hazard during stripping the goods.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology (London)
Volume10-19
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
ISSN1745-6673
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Poisons
Health risks
health risk
Containers
regulation
Health
Chemical hazards
Pest control
Fumigation
Applicators
Docks
Ports and harbors
Unloading
worker
Pest Control
ILO
Logistics
Hazards
harbor
sanction

Cite this

Baur, Xaver ; Budnik, Lygia T ; Zhao, Zhiwei ; Bratveit, Magne ; Djurhuus, Rune ; Rubino, Frederico ; Vershoor, Louis ; Colosio, Claudio ; Jepsen, Jørgen Riis. / Health risks in international container and bulk cargo transport due to volatile toxic compounds. In: Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology (London). 2015 ; Vol. 10-19. pp. 1-18.
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title = "Health risks in international container and bulk cargo transport due to volatile toxic compounds",
abstract = "To ensure the preservation and quality of the goods, physical (i.e. radiation) or chemical pest control is needed. Thedark side of such consents may bear health risks in international transport and production sharing. In fact, between10{\%} and 20{\%} of all containers arriving European harbors were shown to contain volatile toxic substances abovethe exposure limit values. Possible exposure to these toxic chemicals may occur not only for the applicators butalso the receiver by off gassing from products, packing materials or transport units like containers. A number ofintoxications, some with lethal outcome, occur not only during the fumigation, but also during freight transport(on bulk carriers and other transport vessels), as well as in the logistic lines during loading and unloading. Riskoccupations include dock-workers, seafarers, inspectors, as well as the usually uninformed workers of importingenterprises that unload the products. Bystanders as well as vulnerable consumers may also be at risk. Ongoingstudies focus on the release of these toxic volatile substances from various goods. It was shown that the half-livesof the off-gassing process range between minutes and months, depending on the toxic substance, its chemicalreactivity, concentration, the temperature, the contaminated matrix (goods and packing materials), and the packingdensity in the transport units. Regulations on declaration and handling dangerous goods are mostly not followed.It is obvious that this hazardous situation in freight transport urgently requires preventive steps. In order to improveawareness and relevant knowledge there is a need for more comprehensive information on chemical hazards and abroader implementation of the already existing regulations and guidelines, such as those from ILO, IMO, andnational authorities. It is also necessary to have regular controls by the authorities on a worldwide scale, whichshould be followed by sanctions in case of disregarding regulations. Further, fumigated containers must have awarning sign corresponding to international recommendations and national regulations, and freight documentshave to indicate any potential hazard during stripping the goods.",
author = "Xaver Baur and Budnik, {Lygia T} and Zhiwei Zhao and Magne Bratveit and Rune Djurhuus and Frederico Rubino and Louis Vershoor and Claudio Colosio and Jepsen, {J{\o}rgen Riis}",
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Health risks in international container and bulk cargo transport due to volatile toxic compounds. / Baur, Xaver; Budnik, Lygia T; Zhao, Zhiwei; Bratveit, Magne; Djurhuus, Rune; Rubino, Frederico; Vershoor, Louis; Colosio, Claudio; Jepsen, Jørgen Riis.

In: Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology (London), Vol. 10-19, 2015, p. 1-18.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Health risks in international container and bulk cargo transport due to volatile toxic compounds

AU - Baur, Xaver

AU - Budnik, Lygia T

AU - Zhao, Zhiwei

AU - Bratveit, Magne

AU - Djurhuus, Rune

AU - Rubino, Frederico

AU - Vershoor, Louis

AU - Colosio, Claudio

AU - Jepsen, Jørgen Riis

PY - 2015

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N2 - To ensure the preservation and quality of the goods, physical (i.e. radiation) or chemical pest control is needed. Thedark side of such consents may bear health risks in international transport and production sharing. In fact, between10% and 20% of all containers arriving European harbors were shown to contain volatile toxic substances abovethe exposure limit values. Possible exposure to these toxic chemicals may occur not only for the applicators butalso the receiver by off gassing from products, packing materials or transport units like containers. A number ofintoxications, some with lethal outcome, occur not only during the fumigation, but also during freight transport(on bulk carriers and other transport vessels), as well as in the logistic lines during loading and unloading. Riskoccupations include dock-workers, seafarers, inspectors, as well as the usually uninformed workers of importingenterprises that unload the products. Bystanders as well as vulnerable consumers may also be at risk. Ongoingstudies focus on the release of these toxic volatile substances from various goods. It was shown that the half-livesof the off-gassing process range between minutes and months, depending on the toxic substance, its chemicalreactivity, concentration, the temperature, the contaminated matrix (goods and packing materials), and the packingdensity in the transport units. Regulations on declaration and handling dangerous goods are mostly not followed.It is obvious that this hazardous situation in freight transport urgently requires preventive steps. In order to improveawareness and relevant knowledge there is a need for more comprehensive information on chemical hazards and abroader implementation of the already existing regulations and guidelines, such as those from ILO, IMO, andnational authorities. It is also necessary to have regular controls by the authorities on a worldwide scale, whichshould be followed by sanctions in case of disregarding regulations. Further, fumigated containers must have awarning sign corresponding to international recommendations and national regulations, and freight documentshave to indicate any potential hazard during stripping the goods.

AB - To ensure the preservation and quality of the goods, physical (i.e. radiation) or chemical pest control is needed. Thedark side of such consents may bear health risks in international transport and production sharing. In fact, between10% and 20% of all containers arriving European harbors were shown to contain volatile toxic substances abovethe exposure limit values. Possible exposure to these toxic chemicals may occur not only for the applicators butalso the receiver by off gassing from products, packing materials or transport units like containers. A number ofintoxications, some with lethal outcome, occur not only during the fumigation, but also during freight transport(on bulk carriers and other transport vessels), as well as in the logistic lines during loading and unloading. Riskoccupations include dock-workers, seafarers, inspectors, as well as the usually uninformed workers of importingenterprises that unload the products. Bystanders as well as vulnerable consumers may also be at risk. Ongoingstudies focus on the release of these toxic volatile substances from various goods. It was shown that the half-livesof the off-gassing process range between minutes and months, depending on the toxic substance, its chemicalreactivity, concentration, the temperature, the contaminated matrix (goods and packing materials), and the packingdensity in the transport units. Regulations on declaration and handling dangerous goods are mostly not followed.It is obvious that this hazardous situation in freight transport urgently requires preventive steps. In order to improveawareness and relevant knowledge there is a need for more comprehensive information on chemical hazards and abroader implementation of the already existing regulations and guidelines, such as those from ILO, IMO, andnational authorities. It is also necessary to have regular controls by the authorities on a worldwide scale, whichshould be followed by sanctions in case of disregarding regulations. Further, fumigated containers must have awarning sign corresponding to international recommendations and national regulations, and freight documentshave to indicate any potential hazard during stripping the goods.

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DO - 10.1186/s12995-015-0059-4

M3 - Journal article

VL - 10-19

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JO - Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology (London)

JF - Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology (London)

SN - 1745-6673

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