When using a pallet in craft and do it yourself projects, you may want to watch out for these possible contaminants related to the different types of wood used to make pallets. This article will help you know how to choose the best pallet for your next DIY project.
Pressure treated and fumigated wood
Some pallet manufacturers use pressure to force chemicals like formaldehyde into the wood to prevent decay and pest infestation. However, you may not want to use these chemical-treated pallets inside your house, for this reason. Also, fumigated wood is treated with pesticides, which also isn’t great from a health standpoint.
Don’t give up on your pallet projects! There are plenty of pallets that are not made from pressure treated or fumigated wood.
If you aren’t sure how to identify pressure-treated wood, one way to identify the pallets you may want to avoid using in home decor and furniture projects, is to look for the IPPC logo found on most pallets. Near the IPPC logo, if you find: HT – This means the pallet was heated to 60 degrees for 30 minutes, thus making them okay to use.
MB – This indicates that the pallet was fumigated with a toxic pesticide, methyl bromide. You may see this mark on some older pallets, as this process is currently not used by most pallet manufacturers. These pallets are often from Asia. When your skin comes in contact with this chemical you may feel a burning sensation and or redness. Inhaling the chemical is noted with dizziness, headache, vomiting, labored breathing and even loss of coordination.
KD- is Kiln dried, means they put the pallet in a kiln to dry it out and remove moister, and thus prevent fungal growth. However, this does not mean the pallet is “heat- treated” wood. This is a good pallet for DIY projects that don’t require heat treated wood.
You also may want to consider the source of your pallets (however companies tend to reuse pallets, so this may be hard to determine) and what types of contamination your pallets may have been exposed to. Things such as water, mold, vermin, insects, chemicals, and even bacteria such as E. coli and Listeria have been found on pallets.
Red or Blue painted pallets are often used by rental companies. These pallets should be avoided because of the potential history of the pallets. They travel the world, and some countries don’t use the same standards as others.
Always use a mask when working with pallets, not only as a precaution but also to prevent you from inhaling particles. If you can’t find a code on your pallet and are unsure if it is safe, use it for an outdoor project. If your project is in your home, make sure it is clean. For indoor projects, always do a thorough cleaning of the wood and paint a couple coats of the clear coat of primer to seal the surface. Hopefully, you have learned some new things, making it easier for you to choose the best pallet for your project.