This morning a reader alerted us to the possible dangers of some wood shipping pallets, of toxic chemicals leaching from treated woods (required by law to prevent insect infestations, although not all treatments involve chemicals), or of contamination by e-coli and other pathogens (a bi-product of being used to transport food or being exposed to animals and birds). Although we recommended using new wood pallets, we’ve discovered that these can be subject to chemical treatments as well.
Now we’re trying to find out a) where to get wood pallets that have been treated by heat alone, without pressure-treating (another heat-treating process which involves serious chemicals) and b) if it is possible to seal recycled wood pallets ourselves by painting, polyurethaning etc to mitigate any dangers from pressure-treated or chemically fumigated wood. We’ll write a post as soon as we get to the bottom of the issue. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to be circumspect about how you use pallets, unless your research shows otherwise.