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  • lynn

    this article is really unclear. the title made me think that i was going to find out ‘how to tell if wood pallets are safe for crafting’. reading the article made me think that there’s not way to really know.

    i wonder if there was a strategic typo somewhere?

    or if the title should be changed to…’there’s no way to tell whether wood pallets are safe for crafting (or anything)’.

    totally excited to get the post. confused after reading it.

    • Jonathan Dube

      all palettes are safe for crafting, people use PT wood on decks and Sheds, but for planter boxes you want to stick with something unstamped or something stamped HT.

  • Anita

    This article is bringing to your attention that all pallets are not created equal. Pressure and heat treated ones could be harmful if used in the house. The two stamps for sure that if you see one of them that you want to use them for outside and not garden with them. Also if they are a green or other color besides aged wood you might not want to put your veggie garden in either of them. Free is good….But just be careful. If your not sure. Line them, fill them with dirt and cut holes in the liner. At least you are controlling what is leaching into the plant. They all should still be used to walk on in the garden or work area, Or other wonderful things made from them for use outside.

    • http://profiles.google.com/ebaker1982 e baker

      What is the proof that they are dangerous? Just because it was treated with a chemical, that does not mean the chemical will become airborne and even if it DID, that the concentration and exposure levels would be of any concern. Your house is FULL of toxic substances, but they are of no danger to you. Where is the PROOF that pallets are harmful?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Guy/100003145856815 Adam Guy

    Generally no, wood pallets are not safe. I’d want to coat them in plastic OR use plastic pallets… 
    http://www.pallettruth.com/2012/05/a-wood-pallet-wall-rack-thats-nothing-to-hang-your-hat-on/

    • Kory Rigler

      Yeah, coming from a site that bashes pallets run by PLASTICS.COM- Really? Plastics are loaded with chemicals too. I wish these big lobbies would quit treating people like idiots.

    • http://profiles.google.com/ebaker1982 e baker

      Give me a break. Could a site be more biased? They give no indication of who runs the site, either. A little sketchy.

    • mowgli

      According to that site wooden pallets weight between 70 and 80 pounds…I must be supeman then. They also have 150 nails apparently! These two “facts” are easily proven wrong just by looking at a pallet and lifting it. If information as basic as that is incorrect we can all decide for ourselves about the veracity of the rest.

    • abinell

      Read the article and another one on the page. What a load of propaganda and alarmist nonsense. Bringing a wood pallet into your house is a fire hazard? Your ENTIRE house is a fire hazard if you put a flame to it.
      Wood pallets contribute to global warming? Plastics don’t? Which one can I put into a chipper and use for biodegradable mulch?

  • J. Candal

    I think there’s a confusion in this article about the heat treated pallets. Heat treated pallets don’t necessarily have chemicals in them. They are simply put for half an hour under high tempertures. These are the safer ones and are marked with HT. Not the same as pressure treated wood.

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  • Lilspicy012002

    I heard someone saying that they can be use for gardening to, to help cut down on weeds.
     

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  • John

    There is a lot of misinformation in this article.  There are two ways to certify pallets for export – Heat Treatment and Chemically Fumigate.  If a pallet is marked with the IPPC HT stamp, it has ONLY been treated with elevated temperature (56C) for at least 30 minutes.  The ONLY other ISPM15 option is to use Methyl Bromide, which is marked MB.  I would not use MB marked pallets for crafting.

    Additionally, most pallets are not marked for export in the US, and therefore are
    not treated with Heat or MB.  You will find more pallets without stamps than those with stamps.  Basically it boils down to cost.  It costs a LOT of money to treat pallets, so nearly every domestic pallet is not treated.

    As for the formaldahyde you mentioned, that is only in pallets that used composite wood (think particle board).  This kind of wood is only used in block pallets (as the block component).  Many CHEP pallets (blue painted pallets) are of this type.

    The old traditional 4 way pallets (non-block) are completely chemical free (unless marked) and are completely safe to use once you remove the nails.

    • Moyo Mitchell

      Good info, thanks

  • Featurepainting

    I think your article confuses heat treated with an unsafe process.  It is internationally shipped pallets that have the IPPC certification and require more treatment.  Heat treated pallets are the safest and ones that are found locally or not designed for export.   Heat treated pallets are prepared in a water bath brought to a certain temperature.  

  • Scott

    These posts are cracking me up. I treat pallets for a living with both HT and MB. There are absolutely no dangers associated with either one of these types. HT is treated with heat only and MB is treated with a “gas” that evaporates from the wood within 30 minutes of aeration. The reason the pallets are treated is to kill disease carrying organisms,…(ie. bugs). These can be bugs that are too small to see with the naked eye. Now, let’s rethink this. Would you rather have a pallet with and HT/MB mark saying all dangerous bugs have been killed, or one without a mark saying it has never been treated for bugs??

    • Moyo Mitchell

      I think that their point is the pallets which are treated with chemicals may maintain some of those chemicals within the wood. If you’re growing food on those pallets, there is a chance that the chemicals may contaminate the soil and therefore the food.

    • Real Quintin

      It is nice to here it straight from the horses mouth!! Also, everyone is complaining and worried about pressure treated wood, yet, these are the same people that build decks, kids playgrounds, and picnic tables out of this same wood. Ironic.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ebaker1982 e baker

    I appreciate the post, but worry there’s more speculation than science. Just because something seems POSSIBLE does not mean it’s PROBABLE and certainly does not mean it’s PROVEN. I see a lot of talk on the internet about how dangerous pallets are because they’re exposed to bird droppings and insects and moisture, which would promote mold or mildew growth, but you know what else fits those warnings…. picnic tables. When those are the criteria, my picnic table is absolutely disgusting. Birds leave their mark constantly, it gets rained on (and the dew sets on it) time and time again, and bugs love it, and yet here I am with my family having a meal a couple times a week, and much of the food we eat there is eaten with our hands that have just touched the table (burgers, fries, corn on the cob, etc.). So, my point is, are there studies PROVING the danger of pallets, or is it all just speculation? Pseudoscience can be pretty convincing, but show me the facts. And being an engineer, if there ARE facts, I WILL listen to them.

  • nick s

    hi, i am nick @92bc766173c92f559909f906bd32a3bc:disqus There is ALOT of misinformation in this article. Heat treating wood or pallets don’t use chemicals in the process. IPPC stamped pallets are heat treated no usage chemical here correct. Wood Pallets with no stamp are good to reuse, no chemicals use here correct. You will find more pallets without stamps than those with stamps correct. Basically it boils down to cost correct. It costs a LOT of money to treat pallets, so nearly every domestic pallet is not treated. Chemically Fumigate Methyl Bromide, which is marked MB correct. I would not use MB marked pallets for anything. Formaldehyde to the best of my knowledge is in import plywood and imported wood furniture or panel product not just pallets? Scott is correct, These posts are cracking me up. I treat pallets for a living with both HT and MB. There are absolutely no dangers associated with either one of these types. HT is treated with heat only and MB is treated with a “gas” that evaporates from the wood within 30 minutes of aeration. The reason the pallets are treated is to kill disease carrying organisms,…(ie. bugs). These can be bugs that are too small to see with the naked eye. Now, let’s rethink this. Would you rather have a pallet with and HT/MB mark saying all dangerous bugs have been killed, or one without a mark saying it has never been treated for bugs?? Pressure treated chemical’s here is used daily in home owners decks and some people use it for picnic table BUT NOT ME. i am Atlas Wood Products a industrial wood provider in phila, pa contact 215-PALLET4

    • nick s

      215-PALLET4 = (215-725-5384) Atlas Wood Products a IPPC Stamped IPPC marked ISPM15 wood provider in phila, pa

  • Cherry

    I work

  • Cherry

    I work at a sawmill and when it says HT it does mean heat treated this means that they put the lumber in huge kilns and to dry it to a certain moisture content and this process also kills any bugs that may be living in the wood that may spread and cause damage to living trees.(It is basically using heat to sterilize the wood) The only reason the wood ends up as pallets is that it does not make stud grade or can not be used as construction lumber. If you were to look at boards purchased at any lumber retailer you would see that ALL lumber is stamped with HT and then it also has a stamp indicating its designed purpose and the kind of wood it is made out of. So lets say for sake of argument if HT meant chemically treated it would mean that you already have the chemical in your house because every stud holding up your walls says HT. For the people that don’t think that pallets were used in making some of the furniture.I can say that some would is rough green that means it hasn’t been heat treated or run through the planer to smooth it out. There is a good portion of the wood that is heat treated and planed that is sold to pallet makers.I would guess that if any chemicals are sprayed on while making the pallet that company would probably be legally obligated to let you know right on the pallet itself. On a side note there is basically no waste in the board making process because the sawdust is used for such things as petting bedding or landscaping, chips are made and sold to paper companies and what is left is burned to fire the kilns. I hope this helps some of you that have left some negative comments having a better understanding and knowledge of what what you are talking about.

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  • abinell

    LOTS if misinformation on here. I work for a pallet mill that makes thousands of pallets a week. Heat treated pallets are nothing more than a giant “oven” where temperatures are required to reach at 132 degrees for a specified amount of time to kill bugs that can cause problems if shipped outside of the US. If you find the stamp on the side with HT on it, then you know that it has been treated that way. Very few companies use the methyl bromide anymore and if so, would have the MB stamped instead of HT. So, you’re wondering if they have been treated but with no stamp? We would never heat treat or MB treat a pallet and NOT stamp it. One, its against the rules of the stamp. Two, a treated pallet costs more to make so we need to sell it for more, which means we are definitely going to stamp it. Pressure treated wood – is not used in pallets. It’s too expensive so throw that argument out the door. (Okay maybe .001% of pallets made by some one-off company making pallets for one company, just to cover my behind. Otherwise, doesn’t happen!)
    Be more concerned with where your pallets were AFTER they were manufactured. Did you let them sit in your backyard through 4 seasons? Give them a good cleaning and sanding. If you’re still concerned then you should probably look around your house as there are a hundred things more “dangerous”. Have carpet? Laminate flooring? Laminate countertops or cabinets? Is your furniture made of pressed wood? What cleaning materials do you have in the house? Old house with lead paint? Are your ducts filled with mold? Leaky basement?
    See my point?! Relax and enjoy the cool things you can make from old pallets. (By the way, they are recyclable and use 1/5 the resources needed to make a plastic pallet!)

  • Maggiec_38

    Soooo… After all this… Are pallets ok to burn for camp fires???