Toxic gases in ocean freight containers

Denna sida på svenska

Transportation of goods in ocean freight containers has increased tremendously and over 500 million container units are shipped annually. Some contents are fumigated to control spread of pests and microbial growth. Warfare agents and other highly toxic chemicals may be added via smuggling, sabotage, or contaminated warfare equipment. The goods itself may also emit harmful volatiles. As the container is sealed and unventilated, any added or internally emitted gaseous or volatile chemical may reach high levels in the air. This may constitute a serious health hazard during inspection and unloading.

The aims of the project are to:

  • identify the occurrence and levels of chemical vapors in containers imported to Sweden,
  • determine to what extent workers unloading are exposed, and
  • study the efficacy of different types of container ventilation.

Financed by AFA Insurance and Västernorrland County Council.

Contact person


Gunnar Johanson

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 877 52
Organizational unit: Work environmental toxicology