This is an entry from my blog: Pallet Craft!
I have been writing to this blog for the past few weeks to share my endeavors with pallet woodworking, and over that time I have seen my blog grow exponentially. This is definitely an exciting time for me as I get to share all of these experiences with more and more of you, however, it has been received with some mixed reviews as well.
I have had several readers express that they are wary of pallets and their use in woodworking. When I dug a little deeper into the vast array of internet forums and discussion boards, I uncovered there to be quite a number of opinions, fears, and some confusion. Most of the hysteria was centered on how pallets are perceived to be a hazard to health and unsuitable but for the garbage. So I have decided to set this record straight the best way I know of… by blogging! The following are laws and regulations that are in place in the U.S. and abroad.
1. Pallets being shipped internationally must be treated to prevent insect invasion and transcontinental contamination.
2. Pallets in the USA are regulated by the USDA with two organizations handling different types of treatment. (ALSC manages heat treatment)
3. Heat Treatment is an acceptable solution to this (simple chamber heating to 56 degrees Celsius for a minimum 30 minutes).
4. All pallets must be marked (and I have yet to find one unmarked) with the type of treatment used. Pallets without mark will not be allowed through customs or be shipped.
It is by these reasons that I say heat treated pallets are in fact safe for use. Yes, chemically treated pallets do still exist (managed by NWPCA), and you should use precautions when dealing with any wood type (glasses for eye irritation, respirators for dust inhalation), but this is not to say that you should not use any of them in your own woodworking.
For more, check out more of Pallet Craft! The safe, recycling solution.