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Pallet wood project ideas can be found on the Facebook and Pinterest pages of anyone even remotely crafty. In fact, you don’t even need to have a crafty bone in your body to appreciate the amazing creations out there. Pallet wood is free, fairly easy to work with and is a super way to upcycle items normally sent off to the landfill.
However, not all pallet wood is created equal! Some is just downright dangerous to your health and should be avoided when selecting your project pieces.
Pressure treated and fumigated pallets – This is not your typical pressure treated wood. The most common chemical used on pressure treated pallet wood is formaldehyde and pesticides are used in fumigation. You want neither of these inside your home. Especially on a project that will be touched or handled often.
So how can you tell if your potential pallet wood has been treated or fumigated? You should be able to find an IPPC logo stamped into the wood.
The following two codes are what you want to ignore:
HT – this means the wood was heat treated, likely with chemicals you want to avoid.
MB – this code means the wood was treated with a toxic pesticide called methyl bromide. While this method is no longer used by manufacturers, pallets get passed around and it could be quite old.
Other considerations are where you have found the pallet. Take everything into consideration! Was it used to ship chemicals that could have leaked; has it been sitting outside for extended lengths of time, exposed to vermin and potentially becoming moldy. I would consider avoiding pallets from anywhere related to food manufacturing. E-Coli and listeria could be present.
Don’t give up on your pallet wood projects. Just get a little choosier about where you pick your wood from. Have fun, be creative and be safe!