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The dispersion of detergents around containers that are treated for pest control

De verspreiding van gassingsmiddelen rond containers


The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment advises establishing a restricted area around containers treated with detergents. No one should be allowed to enter this area without breath protection equipment. A restricted area of 50 metres around the containers should be established for large amounts of detergents, such as up to 5 kg methyl bromide or vikane. When smaller amounts (up to 1 kg for methyl bromide) are applied or occur, an area of 20 metres will be sufficient. Within these distances, concentrations may occur that are harmful to human health. This advice has been given to the Dutch Inspectorate of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment in response to the request made by the Inspectorate to simplify the existing rules on distances that vary depending on the substance and the use. High concentrations of detergents exist in containers for export to foreign countries. The recommended distances should be applied for the use of methyl bromide, phosphine and vikane. Containers under the present rules are only treated with these detergents when the receiving country requires such a treatment. In the Netherlands the use of these substances is only applicable under strict regulations. The restricted areas should be established at the start of the treatment because of possible leakage from the containers. Before shipment of the containers they are cleared of the detergents by opening the doors and letting the detergents evaporate. This process causes concentrations around the containers that are harmful to human health. Import containers may also contain detergents. In practice, other detergents than the three used for export containers are found in import containers the Dutch harbours. Since the concentrations in import containers are substantially lower, a distance of 20 metres will be sufficient to protect people from hazardous concentrations due to leakage or evaporation. Another recommendation is to prohibit (starting) the release of the detergents under calm weather conditions. High concentrations may then occur for some time and at longer distances.

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