The Fumigation Warning Sign (ADR/RID)

Shipping containers are frequently transported under live fumigation in order to preserve or sterilise cargo that may contain soil, plants or plant material. The fumigation process prevents the spread of pests and diseases that could affect wild plants, crops, trees and entire ecosystems. These shipments must be marked with the Fumigation Warning Sign.

In the maritime industry, fumigation is also used to kill pests in grain and other food stuffs being imported or exported – both to preserve the quality of the cargo and to prevent the transfer of nonindigenous species.

Special provisions for road (ADR) and sea (IMDG) transport apply to fumigated cargo transport units (CTUs) that do not contain any other dangerous goods and are not subject to any other provisions of ADR or IMDG. If the CTU is loaded with dangerous goods in addition to the fumigant, then any provision relevant to these goods still applies and the necessary labels and placards must be shown.


According to the ADR and IMDG Codes, the fumigation warning mark must be rectangular and should be not less than 300 mm wide and 250 mm high. The text must be in black print on a white background with lettering not less than 25 mm high. Where the dimensions are not specified, all features must be in approximate proportion to those shown in the illustration below.

Fumigation Warning Sign specs image

The Fumigation Warning Sign must be fixed to every door or access point of the Fumigated CTU and adequately updated with details so that it can be seen clearly by any person opening or entering the unit.

The sign should be completed with the specific type of fumigant used and the relevant dates and times; sometimes the amount of fumigant used is also stated. The marking of the proper shipping name (FUMIGATED UNIT) and the UN number (UN 3359) is not required. However, if a fumigated unit is loaded with dangerous goods, any labels or marks required under ADR/IMDG must be applied in the usual manner.

Class 9 placards should not be affixed to a fumigated CTU unless there are other class 9 substances or articles packed inside.

The Fumigation Warning Mark must remain in place until the CTU has been ventilated to remove all harmful fumigant gas or until the fumigated goods or materials have been removed.

If the fumigated CTU has been completely ventilated, either by opening the doors of the unit or by mechanical ventilation after fumigation, the date of ventilation must be marked on the fumigation warning mark.

Once the CTU has been fully ventilated and unloaded, the fumigation warning sign should be removed.

This article should not be used in substitute for checking the exact requirements in the applicable modal regulations.