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Shipping container floors NOT sustainable AND toxic!

Apr 26 '07 29 Last Comment
Entasis79
Apr 26, 07 11:08 am


Here is the article

Basically it says that all the architects using these right now need to step back and really look at what it is they are walking on.

The wood flooring of most shipping containers is made from tropical hardwood, of which 10 million tress are cut down every year. And most container floors are treated with toxic pesticides to keep bugs out.

What is you opinion on using shipping containers in designs?

 

Entasis79
Apr 26, 07 11:10 am

Also...I had NO idea that these containers are usually used ONE WAY?!?! Once they get here they just sit around. Can that be true? I always assumed that they were repacked and sent out again.
Does anyone have any experience with containers?

+i
Apr 26, 07 11:28 am

it's not just shipping container floors we should be concerned about.

sadly, this is very common in building materials- as the World Health Organization and the EPA points out the 10 most common building material toxins-

pvc (plumbing pipes- which the water you drink flows through), formaldehyde, adhesives (all that glue-lam you've been specifying), radon, solvents, lead, copper, wood preservatives (which i imagine are found in the floors of these containers), "container floors are treated with serious insecticides and fungicides to keep alien bugs out"... the list and applications continue...

these toxins cause impotence (cough, cough *ahem*), lung inflammation, kidney disorders, cancer, and behavioral issues- not to mention the extinction of entire ecosystems.

this whole conversation ties back into other threads on this forum about what "sustainablity" REALLY is

futureboy
Apr 26, 07 12:14 pm

entasis,
yes..shipping containers in the us especially are typically used only one-way as the trade deficit is so large. we import much, much more than we export. so near any major port you find, there is a large shipping container storage center with rows upon rows of them stacked.

+i
Apr 26, 07 12:38 pm

yummm... just think- our food may have been in them...

Erin WilliamsErin Williams
Apr 26, 07 12:42 pm

Yeah, I knew they were only used one-way.... my parents used one to move to another country with, and the shipping container has become a storage shed in their backyard!

My thoughts: bad, bad, bad that they're built with tropical hardwood. But WORSE for that to happen for them only to be used for such a temporary thing. I think we mitigate the damage somewhat by getting every last ounce of usefulness out of them possible.

garpike
Apr 26, 07 12:50 pm

Ooops. I read it as:

not sustainable (oh no)
not toxic (oh good)

garpike
Apr 26, 07 12:51 pm

One way??? So these are just heavy duty boxes?

4arch
Apr 26, 07 1:55 pm

maybe this will shut all the people up who evangelize about how they believe shipping containers are the answer to all the world's housing problems.

PerCorell
Apr 26, 07 4:18 pm

Shipping containers proberly are good for shipping, that's what they are made for ,and it easily become a dead-end in terms of architecture if you are not very very good at designing and stay away from declaring this to be better than anything else . First closed walls and moisture problems make their own limits, the dimensions to are not ideal esp. for children who will have their sense for architecture imprinted to cover a very limited set of measures and factors. The building material steel, is allright but a house shuld not be a box and steel must be used so, that condensation problems will not occour, - guess all in all I agrea that focus shuld be pointet another direction than shipping containers.
Kill The Brick.

David CuthbertDavid Cuthbert
Apr 26, 07 4:22 pm

naw

any self respecting architect using containers as the basis of their architecture rips the f*cking floor out

Most of the time its already started to break down as its rarely treated.

Janosh
Apr 26, 07 4:23 pm

They are also covered with lead paint. Wah wah. And in CA, the welds aren't good enough for use in a habitable structure. Wah wah.

David CuthbertDavid Cuthbert
Apr 26, 07 6:13 pm

yea I'm not surprised...it is after all a rusty box.

pomoinmono
Apr 26, 07 8:14 pm

not to digress, what eventually happenes to those large shipping containers storage center you speak of? they can't just keep adding more and more containers forever.

i see an million dollar industry waiting to happen............ for someone who takes the time to figure out how to make container distribution efficient

Orhan AyyüceOrhan Ayyüce
Apr 26, 07 8:35 pm

can't they be rcyled as metal?
i think using them as housing is a lot like toying with leg go, i mean let go...
does a rectangular prism needs to be rediscovered as a house?

David CuthbertDavid Cuthbert
Apr 26, 07 8:49 pm

abra as usual brings wisdom, because they are in fact easy to dismantle, despite the welds

globalpeacecontainers.com
Apr 29, 07 12:58 am

My company www.GlobalPeaceContainers.com is the first built-on-site container housing company in the US. We are unveiling new models for sale at this time and we will also build to suit. Check out our website for more info and advice. I am one of the first container house proponents in the U.S. (13 years experience). Look for us on the news in the future.

If you still need your questions answered, please contact me at the below email address and I'll happy to assist.

admin@globalpeacecontainers.com

Chemicals like these mentioned in the blog dissipate greatly after a couple of years. We have special prepping, cleanup, and sealing methods that we have perfected to solve this problem. If the out-gasing of chemicals is stopped by a barrier then there is virtually no risk. This is similar to lead paint hazards which we have corrected in traditional houses of the past.

binary
Apr 29, 07 1:07 am

like doing monkey cad for 12 hours is healthy


there's alot of pesticides in plywood/etc....... formeldahide is also in alot of products......


the world will self destruct one day anyways

b

David CuthbertDavid Cuthbert
Apr 29, 07 2:03 am

global - yea I remember you guys. You did a building for a school in Jamaica, using reused containers.

Are there more projects on the board?

globalpeacecontainers.com
Apr 29, 07 2:21 am

Yes we have one built and more on site ready to be converted. We are taking this to a new level, and we have quite an awesome group of experts. Check out the website and spread the word we are going to be updating often over the next few weeks. How are you connected with containers.

mauOne™
Apr 29, 07 5:04 am

LO TEK?

garpike
Apr 29, 07 5:05 am

A calibration?

David CuthbertDavid Cuthbert
Apr 30, 07 3:35 am

Let's just say I've been the one cleaning up the mistakes of previous folks trying to build with containers. I have also tried my own hand at it - creating an office extension for a group of engineers with it (sliced on the long face, bolted togther, was a bitch to water-proof, and propped up on two long assed beams)

globalpeacecontainers.com
May 3, 07 4:50 am

Not Lotek, I was around before them. I have just been doing alot of charity container work. (mustardseed.com)

My company www.sustainourworld.com
partnering with www.GlobalPeaceContainers.com would like to talk with anyone interested in building or buying or exploring the possibilities.
We have the most sustainable and green housing in the world, reusing containers is the ultimate form of recycling. Let us know what you think about container housing.
I'm glad people are finally starting (it's only been thirteen years) to see the value in containers and how helping each other is important.
Look up my number on the www.sustainourworld.com site.
Soren, CEO

Bob Ellenberg
May 4, 07 9:08 pm

I made the following post on Treehugger, "This subject was of great interest to me so I have spent several hours researching it. I may be wrong, but it appears this is misinformation.

First of all the Austrailian document referenced is out of date, those were the standards issued in September 2003 and the current ones are at http://www.daffa.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/113037/cargo.doc dated 15 November 2006. However, I searched the ones from 1 September 2003 and I couldn't find any of those chemicals listed anywhere there either.

Is it possible that some of those chemicals have been used in the manufactuer and treatment of containers? I assume it is but I don't believe it is a practice dictated by the Australians--if it is one at all.

There is no question that container floors are treated to prevent infestations of critters that the rest of the world doesn't want and I wouldn't want want to be ingesting those chemicals whether they are considered safe or not. But unless you are sanding the floors and making those potential chemicals airborne, how are you at risk? Container floors are going to be covered or sealed in all housing applications. "

As to lead paint, I researched it but couldn't find any information related to how it is monitored since the 1978 ban but it appears it is still used some in China.

Soren, what are you doing where? I didn't find any information on your website. I obviously am also a proponent of container housing.

holz.box
May 4, 07 9:43 pm

for $2500 a pop AND utilizing something that would just sit on a stack anyway, might as well make it useful and beautiful.

treekiller
May 4, 07 10:53 pm

Why not just crush them like old cars and ship them back to china? the wood decking can be turned into toilet paper!

holz.box
May 4, 07 11:14 pm

tk - i'm hoping that reeks of sarcasm??!?

While the floors might be toxic, and there are ways to mitigate that, and though everyone adores containers right now, the energy that would be put into sending empty crushed boxes back to china rather than trying to find an ultimate use for them would be even more of a waste.

of course, i look forward to the day we make useless trinkets and ship them everywhere else...

toxiccargoboy
May 17, 08 2:08 am

Hi everyone.

What I have to say might see me stepping on toes but the containers for housing movement needs a reality check.

My Father worked with the NSW State Rail Authority in Australia. Throughout his career as, at first, a labourer all the way though to senior management he used shipping/cargo containers for the storage of equipment, food, clothing, etc. Only natural in the rail network designed for the purpose.

After his eventual collapse at work he was retired ‘medically unfit’ and remained bed ridden until his doctors traced his constant decline to chronic and acute poisoning from many different pesticides, including many that were exotic to Australia, that were never produced or ever used here because of there toxicity.

His levels of contamination were the highest ever known in Australia until his work mates were tested (they all died from rare and aggressive cancers and my Father is the only one that I know of who is still alive). We then learnt that the life threatening illnesses during childhood and minor deformities that my brothers and I suffer from are the direct result of the mutagenic and teratogenic pesticides sprayed into those containers for bio-security reasons at every port of call. Including the third world were they are still using DDT and much, much, worse.

He went to sue them for what had happened but the outcome was being financially and emotionally bleed dry over 16 years in court until the constant violent ‘break and enters’ into our home, the threats and stalking convinced him to settle for a few thousand dollars.

But here is the rub. My brothers and I are not the first, the last or the only children born to people poisoned by containers, I will assist any way I can any such child who wants help to sue the pants of anyone who sold them for housing or food storage and any parent who turned a blind eye to the risk!

The wilful ignorance shown by some towards this issue is amoral and wrong. To poison children, cause them to be either infertile or to have handicapped, chronically ill, children through attachment to a spurious environmentally beneficial claim morally wrong and will be punished through the courts in the years to come. Especially since these concerns have been around and published for a long time there will be little resort to claiming ignorance or that there were no regulations to follow.

During Australia’s involvement in the embargo of Iraq the teams sent to investigate containers had to wear full space suits and drill into containers to check their toxicity before inspecting them, again in space suits, not because of WMD threat but because the pesticides that Australia already knows causes our boys to become potentially impotent, sterile, or have defective kids.

Serious enquiries welcome: Reuben at frogs-rule@bigpond.com

Posted
Jul 13, 2005
Protecting ports from toxic chemicals
Syft Technologies, producer of advanced SIFT-MS analytical solutions for large-scale identification and analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), has signed a significant export order with Australian Customs Services (Customs) to supply five Voice100 instruments to ports in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. The order is worth in excess of NZ$2m and is to be delivered by June 2005.
Customs will use the technology to analyse and measure fumigant levels within sea containers arriving into Australia - a process necessary to protect port workers from unsafe levels of toxic chemicals and eliminate threat to Australia's agricultural-based economies.
Without protection, exposure to chemicals in the fumigants can be lethal. Chemicals such as ethylene dibromide, phosphine, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, methyl bromide, ethylene oxide, sulfuryl fluoride and chloropicrin (trichloronitromethane).
The instrument uses a technique involving SIFT-MS (selected ion flow mass spectrometry) that can instantly and safely detect and analyse the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from these chemicals and more.
Geoff Peck, chief operating officer of Syft Technologies, explained, "Once the air sample is captured in a tedlar bag it is attached to an inlet on the Voice100. At the push of a button, operators can analyse and determine which fumigant or combination of fumigants were used in the container.
"Each chemical has its own target safety level and the user-friendly screen interface of the Voice100 can immediately show the operator the concentration of fumigant and whether the container is safe to enter or not. All this happens in seconds with measurements down to low parts per billion (ppb)."
Mr Kim Woo, manager Technologies, Australian Customs Service, said, "Customs identified a need to improve facilities to enable staff to test cargo containers for fumigants and other harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in a safe, fast and cost-effective manner.
"A number of alternate VOC detection tech-nologies have been evaluated, and the Voice100 selected ion flow tube mass spectrometer from Syft Technologies has met Customs requirements for fumigant and associated VOC detection. We are working closely with Syft Technologies to develop the application further to meet other operational needs."
The product also offers Customs the potential to extend the service to other border security areas in the future.

http://www.sustainabilitymatters.net.au/news/11227-Protecting-ports-from-toxic-chemicals

c.k.
Jun 12, 09 2:50 pm

Apparently people are warming up the the idea
From today's story on CNN

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