Pallet Safety – What you need to know.

Pallet safety. Are your pallets making you sick? Make sure you know this important safety information regarding pallets.

Everyday 2 billion pallets are used to transport goods around the world.  Some of these pallets are designed for a single use while others are used until they are no longer structure sound.  Because of this there is an abundance of pallets discarded every day.  In recent years there has been an increased awareness regarding pallet safety and there use in projects and crafts.   Recycling or up-cycling pallets and their lumber has led to a steady stream of information and interest about the topic.

Pallets
Pallets for Projects

You may be considering some pallet related projects or just reusing the lumber harvested from them but if you do you should be aware of the following information.  While many pallets are perfectly safe to use there are types that can pose a health risk to people.  Pallets treated with or covered in chemicals from spills should be avoid.  You should not use or burn the wood from them.  There is a way to know if the pallets you are using are safe for your projects.

When pallets are created, they are treated in certain ways depending on their intended purpose.  Pallets used internationally will have a treatment stamp on them with codes that let you know how they were treated and where they came from.

Pallet Safety – Pallet Stamps and what they mean.

First off Pallets with no stamps are national pallets used for shipping items within your country.  These are most likely safe for use but is always a good idea to be familiar with the source your pallets came from.  Pallets used for shipping large items or bulk materials are usually perfectly safe to use.

Pallets bearing an HT stamp are Heat treated to control pests.  These are created by heating the pallet to a minimum temperature for a certain amount of time.  These pallets are safe to use.

Pallets bearing an DB mean that the pallet has been de-barked.  This stamp has no bearing on the safety of the pallet, and you may or may not even see this stamp.

Pallets bearing a KD stamp have been kiln dried to avoid warping and fungal growth.  While these pallets have been heat treated it was to a lesser temperature than is required to receive a HT stamp.  These pallets are also safe to use.

This last stamp and probably the most important one to remember is MB.  MB stands for Methyl Bromide and is a chemical used as a pesticide.  It has been linked to health problems and these pallets should be avoided.  While many countries have stopped using them there may still be some around, especially from Asian countries, so be aware and be safe.

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