Why not to use shipping containers for your next home project

If you’re thinking about using shipping containers for constructing a home or a garden shed, it’s important that you know about their potential dangers. While the idea of repurposing containers might seem eco-friendly and cost-effective, the truth is that they come with several drawbacks. Here are some reasons why you might want to avoid using shipping containers for your home and garden projects:
  • Lead-based paint: Most shipping containers are coated with lead-based paints to protect them from salty air and water during long voyages across the oceans. This makes them extremely toxic and hazardous to human health, particularly for children and pregnant women. The lead particles can easily flake off and contaminate soil and ground water, leading to serious health problems.
  • Structural issues: Shipping containers are not designed for building structures, and they lack the necessary reinforcements and supports to withstand local weather conditions and building codes. They can also rust and corrode quickly, affecting their structural integrity and leading to leaks and water damage.
  • Limited space: While using shipping containers might seem like a clever way to save space and money, the truth is that they are relatively small and narrow, making them difficult to modify and customize to fit your specific needs.
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    In summary, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers associated with using shipping containers for building homes or garden sheds. By opting for safer and more sustainable building materials, you can protect your health and the environment while creating beautiful and functional spaces for your family and friends.

    Why Not to Use Shipping Containers

    Shipping containers have become popular in home construction due to their affordability, durability and portability. However, there are certain drawbacks of using these containers. One of the most significant disadvantages is the lead-based paint used to coat them, which can prove harmful to human health. This article covers the harmful health effects of lead-based paint, the toxicity risks for home construction, eco-friendly alternatives to shipping containers, safety hazards of using old containers, health concerns for container home inhabitants and the long-term environmental impact of container homes.

    Harmful Health Effects of Lead-Based Paint

    Lead-based paint, a hazardous substance, is commonly used to coat shipping containers that are used in ocean transport to prevent corrosion. Although such paint works effectively in salty environments, it poses serious health risks. The fumes emitted from this paint can cause severe health issues, including respiratory problems, organ damage, and birth defects. Moreover, children who ingest lead paint chips or inhale lead dust can develop learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

    Toxicity Risks for Home Construction

    When shipping containers are used to build homes, the lead-based paint on their exterior makes them inhospitable and dangerous to human health. The use of such containers poses health hazards during and after the construction process. Using steel cutting tools to manipulate these containers during construction poses a severe risk of exposing workers to lead particles in the air. However, as new containers are being used instead of the old ones, the risks have reduced significantly.
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    Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Shipping Containers

    Fortunately, there are eco-friendly alternatives to shipping containers for home construction. One such option is to use natural materials that do not pose any health hazards, such as wood, straw-bale, or cob homes. Such homes are environmentally friendly and sustainable and can be built at a similar cost as a container home. Here are some eco-friendly alternatives to shipping containers:
    • Wood homes
    • Straw-bale homes
    • Cob homes

    Safety Hazards of Using Old Containers

    Old shipping containers, in particular, need to be avoided in home construction, as they’re very likely to be coated in lead-based paints. However, that’s not all. Old containers are more likely to have dents, rust, and other forms of damage, which could cause structural problems and leakage in the home. Also, the wear-and-tear of old containers makes them more susceptible to hazardous accidents like falls and cuts.

    Health Concerns for Container Home Inhabitants

    Apart from being harmful to construction workers, living in a container home coated in lead-based paint could be hazardous to the occupants’ health. The lead particles can become airborne and pose the risk of respiratory problems and other health issues. Additionally, the enclosed space of container homes means that even minor cracks in the structure can cause dangerous mold growth, causing respiratory and other health issues.

    Long-Term Environmental Impact of Container Homes

    The long-term environmental impact of container homes is another significant disadvantage of using these containers. Although these containers are recyclable, the process of recycling them is energy-intensive and requires substantially more resources than using natural building materials. Moreover, shipping containers have a huge carbon footprint as they need to be transported long distances to the construction site.
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    In conclusion, although using shipping containers for home construction is a trendy and cost-effective option, the toxicity risks associated with lead-based paint make them a less desirable choice. While newer containers are safer, there are eco-friendly alternatives available for those concerned about their health and the environment. Therefore, it’s best to avoid using old containers coated in lead-based paint as they can be dangerous, both to construction workers and future occupants.

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