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Markes highlights the issue of chemicals in containers

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 at 4:51:PM
Markes International features in a new article in the Winter 2012 edition of the quarterly journal Port Technology International. The article, titled “Chemicals in containers – Problems and risks”, gives an overview of the problem of fumigants and emissions from materials in shipping containers, and explains the main technologies used to detect them.

In the last 10 years, there has been growing realisation that hazardous concentrations of chemicals can be present in containers when they are opened by staff at the receiving port. Although fumigants initially received the greatest attention due to a couple of high-profile cases of poisoning, chemicals emitted by the cargo itself are now believed to be of equal, if not greater, concern.

The author, Markes’ Material Emissions Specialist Dr Caroline Widdowson, outlines the advantages and disadvantages of methods that are now being used to tackle this problem, from simple hand-held photo-ionisation detectors through to ‘gold standard’ analytical methods such as thermal desorption–GC/MS. She concludes that the growing awareness of the dangers posed by hazardous chemicals at home and in the workplace will likely continue to drive the development of a range of detection methods, from rapid on-site tests to the more rigorous methods needed for ongoing research.

C. Widdowson, Chemicals in containers – Problems and risks, Port Technology International, Winter 2012 (edition 56), pp. 46–48
Markes International Ltd
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