Handmade furniture is the new trend nowadays. People are really exploring their crafty sides and are really involved in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects to decorate their homes. People are making holders, shelves, sofas and complete patio, yard and living room furniture on their own using a variety of materials. Scrap metal, tires and wood like old doors, cartons and pallets are widely used in handmade furniture.
Some people buy new pallets while some get it from those who discard them. Any pallet that you find may be exposed to or treated with chemicals. Even brand new pallets are also have some trace of chemicals on them. These chemicals or toxins can be due to bacteria caught from animals, food, drugs residue or other chemicals. While some have been fumigated with insecticides which are toxic.
Here are few steps you need to take for checking whether your pallets is safe to use or not:
• First of all, determine that the pallet you acquired, or bought is clean and there are no possible indications of spills or leakages of any kinds. If there are marks on it of oil, food or any substance you are unknown of, leave the pallet and stick with a cleaner one without getting into knowing what that substance is.
• Observe the marking and stamps on the pallet. All the pallets almost have some sort stamp on one of its sides. The one sign that you might find is that of International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
According to the IPPC, internationally shipped pallets are required to be clean so that they cannot be infected by any hostile insects or plant disease. To meet the standards of IPPC a raw wood pallet cannot be made until it has been treated.
The pallets can be treated in two ways under the charge of an approved agency. The pallet might be safe without the stamp but it is better if the source can be traced. Better not to use a pallet without the IPPC logo.
Heat Treatment: Commonly known as HT, the woods needs to be treated for 30 minutes at core temperature of 132.8 °F /56° C. This treatment will get an HT stamped to the pallet near the IPPC logo.
Fumigation: Wood is fumigated with methyl bromide and stamped with MB right next to IPPC logo. This chemical was banned in 2010 but you might come across a pallet which was treated with MB. Do not use the one having MB stamp.
Debarked: Pallets stamped DB means they were debarked under the regulations of IPPC. So it really does not matter if your pallet is not stamped DB. Many pallets are not.
• If there are no markings on the pallet, it implies they were used for domestic transport, were not stamped by IPPC as no international transport was involved. These pallets have not been treated with chemicals and are safe to use.
It never hurts to be careful. It is recommended that you use stamped ones, so you can know where they came from and how were they treated.