"[C]hromate, phosphorous, and lead-based paints" are among the chemicals that may make using shipping containers for living spaces a problematic (and expensive) venture.
Brian Pagnotta reports:
"The entire structure needs to be sandblasted bare, floors need to be replaced, and openings need to be cut with a torch or fireman's saw. The average container eventually produces nearly a thousand pounds of hazardous waste before it can be used as a structure. All of this, coupled with the fossil fuels required to move the container into place with heavy machinery, contribute significantly to its ecological footprint."