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15
JAN
2019

Are Pallets Safe To Burn | Answers From The Experts

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Are Pallets Safe To Burn?

We get questions like this one below all the time. People want to know, are wood pallets safe to burn as firewood?

Questions:

  •  It is a major concern on whether or not unconventional firewood might have chemicals and/or poisonous fumes which could be harmful?
  •  Could you give me more information on this or maybe you can refer me to a website that could?

Answers:

 Pallets are usually safe for burning in the fireplace unless the pallet is labeled ‘MB’. Which are the initials that will be on those that have been treated with ‘fumigant methyl bromide’. However, there is always the possibility of pallets coming into contact with different chemicals when they were being used.

These are some good concerns to have. Now that we can put them aside, it may interest you to know that pallets make a good source of firewood, as they are dry and thin and produce a very hot flame. Don’t forget to always check pallets for nails when cutting for firewood, as they could potentially damage your saw blade. If you should over look nails in the pallets the ashes will could also have nails in them, which you probably wouldn’t want to dump in your usual place.

For your safety, and your family’s, as well as our great planet, you should never consider burning the wood from pallets, and especially, lumber that has been treated in your fireplace, and never in doors at all.

“Pallets should never be burned. Prior to 2005, there were many pallets being treated with the chemical Methyl Bromide before they were exported as it was a regulation of the phytosanitary regulations and had to be done before shipping, whether it was for import or export as a way to reduce the risk of the wood carrying pests or diseases from one country to another. In fact, pallets that have been treated with the chemical Methyl Bromide needs to be disposed of the same as hazardous waste. Now days pallets are treated with heat,however, never rule out the chance of many pallets could still had mildicides applied to them.” 

“A few more good tips would be not to use a pallet that appears to have had anything spilled on it, and never burn lumber that has been pre-treated in a fireplace.”

“I noticed something about it being alright to burn pallets while reading your archives of questions and answers. When I was burning pallets last year, at least until my research discovered that pretty much all shipping wood was treated using at least one, and sometimes more of the following: insecticide, fire retardant, and/or fungicide. The treatments with arsenic could be spotted easily as they were green, however, they are now using copper compounds. It is not that easy to detect wood that has been treated with insecticides. Wood that has been treated with fire retardants will have a brownish or maybe a rusty stain color to them.

The stickers of under bunks (of lumber) are even sometimes being treated. When I came across the perfect size of pallets for my counter-tops (4X4 oak that were 10′ in length and had 3′ cross members) and then I noticed the tell-tale brownish stain. Due to being cautious, when choosing shipping wood, I knew it was best not to get it.”

“I have been using pallets as my heating supply for more than 12 years, they can be cut for firewood in only seconds. I find that the heavy EURO pallets are the best, using around 200 of them in the winters. My steel wood-stove (the biggest one made by PRITY), with a firebox that is about 65cm cube, with a water-heater right under the flue. When all of the vents are open and the pallets are burning it can reach up to 200sqm home as warm as 23 degrees in as little as 2 hours. With the 8 meters of singe stainless wall flue that wounds around the inner side of my home both upstairs and downstairs, I get heat in all areas of my home.”  

“Pallets that have been treated with 2,4,6-tribromoanisole are the one that Johnson & Johnson blamed on the Tylenol contamination, and are not yet approved to be used in the United States. Pallets that have been made using components of ‘engineered wood’ will have urea formaldehyde in them. The fumigation will often be performed using methyl bromide, which is highly toxic, and a chemical that depletes the ozone layer. Another thing at risk are rusty nails and even wood shards that are used, as they have the ability to penetrate food packaging.

Pallets that have been randomly pulled at the depots located in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Portland, ME, have been found to have E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, along with high bacteria counts on a score of them. Just so you know, Listeriosis has been responsible for around 2,500 illnesses, 500 deaths annually in the United States, and is also the leading cause for deaths involving bacteria pathogens that are food borne, having a rate of fatalities greater than Salmonella or Clostridium Botulinum.” 

“Pallets that have been dried with heat are completely safe to burn, they will be marked H/T (heat treated not with chemicals). In fact, pallets that have been treated will usually cost more for if they have been treated it is generally for shipping imports and exports, these will not be the one’s your likely to find that are free. The one’s that you are likely to get for free and get pick up here and there are domestic use pallets and they are not usually treat at all.

In Conclusion 

You can safely burn pallets that have been heat treated, however, never burn pallets that have been chemically treated.    

 

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