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.
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 possibly heat treated with harmful chemicals. 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.
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. If you are unsure, you can always do a thorough cleaning of the wood and paint a couple coats of clear coat to seal in any possible contaminants.