How dangerous is fumigation?
Fumigation is an essential part of global imports and exports, keeping cargo and goods safe while making sure countries are not exposed to biohazards.
However, fumigation can be hazardous to human health if the process is not carried out carefully and professionally.
In this article, we discuss the dangers of fumigation and the measures we take to ensure our teams, customers, and the public are kept safe from any harm.
What is Fumigation?
Fumigation is a pest control method where gaseous chemicals, usually phosphine and sulfuryl fluoride, are released in a contained space to eradicate any pests.
The gas is maintained at a set concentration for a specific period to ensure that all pests are dealt with.
Once the gas has been contained in the space long enough, it will be safely aired, and the customer issued with a clearance certificate. Cargo can then be exported to its final destination where it is accepted by the buyer.
Fumigation treatments are often required at commercial properties, like ports with cargo and shipping containers, in grain stores and silos, and at a range of other sites.
It is a process that should always be undertaken by a competent fumigant specialist with the appropriate training and certification.
There are strict health and safety guidelines that must be followed in export fumigation, and because it can be incredibly dangerous, we would always recommend hiring a reputable operator.
The dangers of fumigation
While fumigants such as phosphine and sulfuryl fluoride are incredibly effective in clearing spaces of unwanted pests, they can be harmful to human health if inhaled.
Phosphine, for example, is one of the most frequently used fumigants, but it comes with a range of health hazards. Low exposure can cause difficulty breathing, persistent coughing, a tight chest, nausea, headaches and can even cause you to feel faint.
If the gas levels are higher, the symptoms can be more severe with people experiencing vomiting, diarrhoea, fits, fluid collection in their lungs and, in some cases, they can become comatose.
It is imperative that adequate health and safety measures are taken when fumigation occurs and when the gas is being cleared. If individuals are too close to where the fumigation is taking place, they could easily be exposed, and equally, if the gas is not removed, those exposed to the space and cargo post-treatment could be affected.
Fumigation risk assessments
At Fumigill, we put the health, safety and wellbeing of our team, customers, and the public first, which is why we carry out a fumigation risk assessment.
Part of that includes a Testing & Ventilation Service for a range of gaseous substances.
This ensures the safety of all those working in close proximity to the cargo, as well as the site more broadly, by carefully extracting toxic gases via forced ventilation.
This allows the remaining hazardous residues to be quickly removed, and our team confirms as much with a thorough gas test. Once levels are established below the legal Workplace Exposure Limit, our client is issued a gas-free clearance certificate.
As part of the initial risk assessment process, they are also supplied with written instructions that detail the type of fumigant used, the hazards involved, and the precautions taken.
We ensure that there will always be a designated fumigator in charge of operations. This individual will provide documentation proving both their competence and authorisation, which are required as part of the Cargo Fumigation & Tackle Regulations.
If you have any questions or concerns relating to the safety of cargo fumigation, or any of our other fumigations services, don’t hesitate to contact our team.
What are the Industrial Safety Measures for Fumigation?
Fumigation is highly regulated globally via the Cargo Fumigation and Tackle Regulations. These set out how cargo bound for other countries must be identified, and what is required to ensure it is safe to handle both before being exported and once it has reached its destination.
The key part of these regulations states that exporting countries are required to obtain a clearance certificate for their fumigated cargo. This certificate must be issued by the fumigator in charge, or a marine chemist, to confirm that a vessel or space is gas-free and within safe work limits.
It should be carried out by a competent individual who has the appropriate training, knowledge and experience in fumigation.
The team at Fumigill ensures that industrial safety measures are always stringently followed for the protection of those involved in the process, and that cargo complies with the international requirement to be accepted safely at their destination.
What are the benefits of using a professional for your pest control needs?
When it comes to pest control, we would always recommend employing the help of a professional, especially when it comes to fumigation.
There are several benefits to using a professional service, such as:
- Using a trained, licenced, and certified fumigant specialist helps create strong, lasting business relationships between exporters and buyers. Having the proper certification for cargo and spaces that have been fumigated and safely cleared is vital in the import and export industry. Only with a professional company will you have this peace of mind.
- Fumigant specialists will always ensure that clients are in keeping with the international fumigation regulations so that your cargo wont be at risk of being destroyed or rejected from its destination.
- When you use a reputable pest control specialist like Fumigill, you can rest assured that your cargo will reach its destination undamaged, as all pests will be completely eradicated prior to departure.
Fumigation for Commercial Properties
At Fumigill, we offer Fumigation Services and treatments for commercial properties across the UK.
Fumigation of commercial properties and cargo is vital to prevent the transportation of pests and diseases across the globe. If you have concerns about your commercial property and would like to speak to our team about pest control solutions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you find the right solution to your pest problem. We also offer a free consultancy process to discuss the pest issues thoroughly before actioning an agreed procedure.