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I wanted to take this time to go further in depth on the use of heat treatment in pallets here in the U.S. and other U.N. member nations. This week I felt that conveying the truths about these processes would be important in clearing up a lot of confusion that I have noticed surrounding this information.
In 2002, the IPPC (International Plant Prevention Convention) convened to set new regulations on shipping containers and pallets made up of wood materials whether they are soft or hard wood. It was there, that they adopted ISPM 15 which was shortly there after, adopted in the U.S. under Rule 7 CFR 319.40. In the U.S., these regulations are governed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and they enforce that pallet makers and shippers must use 1 of 2 methods to treat the pallets they use for harmful pests as well as mark them with the type they use.
The process of heat treating the timber or logs that will end up being pallets is incredibly simple. The law states that the timber is to be placed into a heat chamber where it will be heated to a inner core temperature of 56 degrees celcius or 132.8 fahrenheit for a minimum of 30 minutes to ensure that the wood no longer contains pests. After the treatment is complete these lumber materials are marked with the acceptable markings set by regulation. The American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) is charged with monitoring and assuring quality pallets and giving their stamp of approval.
Stay tuned for tomorrow when we discuss part 2: Fumigation.