Greenway Products & Services supplies heat-treated, ISPM compliant pallets throughout NJ, NY, PA, MD & DE. We supply businesses that export product across the globe with shipping pallets of all freight classifications. Wood pallets must be treated to prevent the transport of harmful pests, fungus, and other contaminants. As environmental concerns rise worldwide it is important to know how your wood pallets are treated. Some wood pallets are treated with chemicals before delivering to companies to use for transport of goods. Other wood pallets are heat treated as a means to kill all harmful insects and other organic contaminants. Which is a better method: chemical or heat treated pallets?

International Pest Control Standards

International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM), published by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) in 2004, have been enforced since September 2006 and revised in 2009. Basically the standard call for the control of harmful and invasive insect and plant species in wood shipping packaging. This includes all wood pallets imports and exports of all international shipments. There are two main ways of treatment of wood pallets. There is chemical treated and heat treated pallets made of wood. These treatments encompass all sizes of wood pallets, including customized, string and block wood pallets.

According to the “U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) standards for wood packaging material (WPM) imported to U.S. borders through 7 CFR 319.40 – Importation of Wood Packaging Material rule states”:

“that all regulated wood packaging material shall be appropriately treated and marked under an official program developed and overseen by the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) in the country of export”.

Chemical Treated Wood Pallets

The National Wood Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) has implemented and manages a quality control program for wood packaging material fumigated with Methyl Bromide. Once the debarked wood has been chemically fumigated it is stamped for quality control to label it safe for transport. The fumigation is a treatment that only needs one application for the duration of use of the pallet. The official stamp is usually in black and found in an oval or square border. Handlers of chemically treated pallets are required to wear gloves for their safety.

An important note: Arsenic poison was used to treat pallets before 2009.

Heat Treated Pallets

The American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) manages the heat treatment program for wood packaging material. All lumber for building wood pallets must be placed in a heat chamber for at least 30 minutes when the wood core temperature is 132.8 degrees Fahrenheit or 56 degrees Celsius. The process is monitored and materials treated receive the ALSC seal as confirmation. Heat treatment dries the wood considerably and reduces fungus and mold growth.

Heat Treatment vs. Chemical Treatment

Heat treatment is safer to handle than fumigated wood pallets. Environmentally conscious businesses, countries and consumers find heat treatment is a safer and preferred wood pallet treatment. Many countries reject chemical treatment because of toxic gas from the chemical. Countries like India are particularly concerned about certain mold and fungus transport and prefer heat treated pallets.

Heat treated pallets  used for freight transport internationally are eco-friendly. Once wood pallets reach the end of life and cannot be reused, repaired or refurbished they are disposed of in various ways. When chemically treated wood pallets are disposed of they still emit chemical gas and are toxic. Heat treated pallets are safer at the end of transport life for anyone reusing the pallet wood for projects. There is no toxic chemical to inhale of come into contact with in heat treated pallets. Ground heat treated wood pallets used as playground material is safe for children. Heat treated pallets ground for playground material is a safe alternative to chemically treated pallets and ground tire material.

Chemically fumigated wood pallets remain a health concern after the end of useful shipping life. Many people seek out wood pallets to use for various projects. Many DIY projects involving wood pallets show people how to make furniture, children’s sandboxes, wall gardens and storage units. Anyone using wood pallets in a DIY capacity should look for the seal on the pallets to indicate whether it was chemically or heat treated.

Wood Pallet Treatment is Important from Beginning to Well After Transport Usefulness

Manufacturing and freight transport are increasing and wood pallet demand is up. To ensure eradication of insects and fungus, it is mandatory for wood pallets to be treated. Wood pallets are handled by people, transports all types of freight including food, are used well after useful life, disposed of in landfills or burned. Chemically treat wood pallets will have the chemical inside throughout its existence. Heat treat pallets do not have toxic fumes or chemical, stay safe when handled, reused or disposed of in a landfill. It is obvious the natural and safe alternative to chemically fumigated pallets is heat treated pallets.

Here at Greenway Products & Services, we believe that heat-treating is the safest and most reliable way to treat any wood export pallet. And we provide EURO sized pallets. Contact us for more information on our ISPM 15 Compliant Certified Services. For more information on wood pallets for freight transport contact us for a consultation.