Do we know what’s inside shipping containers?

Every day our furniture industry can open 100’s of shipping containers without a thought of what may lurk inside.

You will have a consignment list of products that are inside the container, however, one of the most important contents inside is not always on the list: the toxic Fumigation Gas (also known as a fumigant).

What gases are used for Fumigation? 

Most shipping containers are fumigated by a third party. By the time they arrive into Australia, they still may contain this toxic gas. Exposure to toxic fumigation gases can be a major health risk. 

Some of the gases present may be: Methyl Bromide, Phosphine or Sulphuryl Fluoride.

All of these gases are odourless and colourless and are very hard to detect without special equipment. Any type of exposure to any of these gases can cause serious health effects. 

The Dangers of being exposed

The Fumigants used in the fumigation process are used to kill any living organism, when exposed for a sufficient period of time, at a high concentration. This includes any animals, plants and even can even affect you or any person.

In most cases however, under short-term exposure the following side effects may be detected:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drowsiness
  • Coughing
  • Loss of speech
  • Itchiness


How to prevent exposure

Due to the odourless and colourless nature of these gases, it is nearly impossible to detect them with your senses alone. Therefore, it is best to have the correct equipment for detection of any trace gases.

To prevent any harmful exposure, you must check for the levels of any potential toxic gas within the container using a gas monitor. If the monitor alarms, it is advising you there is an unhealthy amount of toxic gas present within the container, and you should ventilate the container till safe levels have been reached.

Control Equipment Pty Ltd supply suitable gas detection equipment to ensure maximum safety for all furniture industry employees exposed to this potential risk. The gas monitors are specifically designed to detect each fumigation gas. For more information, contact us to talk with a trained professional who will assist you to provide a suitable solution to manage this risk.