Exposure to fumigants in containers: a questionnaire assessment on 125 French dockers

Int Marit Health. 2019;70(4):195-201. doi: 10.5603/IMH.2019.0031.


Background: Cases of intoxications to gas from container's atmosphere have been described. For diagnosis, Fum Ex 2 questionnaire has been developed by the European Society for Environmental and Occupational Medicine. The aim of this study was to enhance knowledge on health effects of toxic substances in containers and to validate this questionnaire in medical follow-up and diagnosis.

Materials and methods: In 2014, 125 French dockers answered the questionnaire in a face-to-face interview.

Results: 83.5% declared no exposure to fumigants or pesticides. Most frequently declared symptoms were fatigue and neurological disorders for dockers and respiratory irritation for refrigeration technicians. Only 28 workers wore regularly individual protection equipment.

Conclusions: A "healthy worker" effect could explain low level of symptoms. Fum Ex 2 questionnaire is relevant for diagnosis. Workers in all steps of the logistic transport chain and consumers are exposed to containers' atmosphere.

Keywords: container; dockers; fumigants; maritime health; occupational toxicology.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fumigation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Naval Medicine*
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Ships
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*


  • Pesticides