Introduction: PALLET SAFETY

I personally love using Pallets for projects. Many people do, but it is very important to know what you are using. Pallets are sometimes treated with very powerful chemicals.

So here I will show you what to look for when getting pallets to make sure they are safe for reuse.

Feel free to link this instructuble to any of your pallet project if you don't to rewrite the info yourself!

If you have any additional information you think would be worth mentioning, please let me know. I think it's really important to share this kind of information, especially as pallets are being used more & more for DIY projects. If possible site sources too !


Generally pallets are stamped on both sides.

Codes and what they mean.

IPPC: International Plant Protection Convention, this certifies that the wood has been treated by approved mesures. This does not mean no chemicals though. If you can't see an IPPC stamp, it is not recommended for reuse.


HT: Heat Treating, this is what you should look for. It is a treatment where the wood is heated to the minimum core temperature of the specific to the wood type. It is not harmfull to your health so safe to use.

MB: Methyl-Bromide Fumigation, this is a powerful pesticide used to treat the wood. Though a lot of countries have banned the use of bromomethane in the early 2000s, you can still find it in some places. DO NOT USE MB MARKED PALLETS.

European pallets are sometimes only marked with EUR or EPAL. Europe does not allow chemical treatment. If it is only marked EPAL, its A-ok! But EUR is from the old system so you might still want to be careful with it. The best is to find some with the full stamps.



Colored pallets are not recommended for indoor use. Traces of formaldehyde or other resins can be found on them. Go for the Unpainted ones if you can.

If there are greasy, oily stains on the pallet or unidentified products on it avoid using them.


1001Pallets : Loads of clear info on pallet safety

IPPC : Info on import regulation

TreeHugger : North American pallet safety

ISPM 15 : International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures

Wood Database : Woodworking Dangers

Wood Database : Wood Allergies & Toxicity



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    IMHO, since many pallet projects are coated somehow, the danger is minimized; not eliminated, mind you--but minimized. Especially for pallet projects used inside the home in enclosed sparsely ventilated areas. The major danger is inhalation of the dirt-dust and treated wood-dust as one uses power tools (efficient dust-creators) on the pallet wood itself during fabrication. If you are sawing and sanding pallet wood without dust protection, you are courting disaster. Inhaling this stuff has both short and long-term effects, none of them good. Some pallets get soaked in one chemical and re-soaked with another. An irradiated pallet may be fatal. Use caution in lieu of abstinence.

    I'm not entirely sure that irradiated wood (for pest control) is any worse than ordinary - they cook it with a bit of gamma radiation for a short period. This is a very common industrial process and is frequently used on food items and food utensils/storage. I'm confident of the safety of that.

    If you are talking about pallets that might have been used in nuclear industries and that could have been contaminated with radioactive substances - those pallets never leave their site's custody, they are treated as all the other nuclear waste is.

    Yar... I agree w/you; however, to avoid being overly verbose--the operative word is "never".

    Looking for advice! We have two pallets to use for a bed base and have checked markings are all safe, but a bit concerned about some patches of black dots (pic attached). Is this mould? The pallets are dry, so do we still need to get rid of it? What is the best way?! Thanks in advance, fellow makers!


    Any dust is unsafe in volume so use of appropriate dust masks is essential when cutting up anything which produces dust.

    My workplace has hundred of free pallets. They all have different stamps. I believe this has little or nothing to do with the quality of the pallet, or causing a contrasting difference in health. They want the pallets to be sturdy and not harbor bugs. There are many methods for accomplishing this. There are literally NO-NONE-ZERO deaths linked to burning, or using a specifically treated pallet. I assume that these allegations of people being sick are completely made up. Just like marijuana was deemed a health hazard by the government, because it cures too many things, and would cost the gov. money on people needing less medication. Pallet companies want you to buy more pallets in the same way. Pallet companies start these falsehoods, so people won't reuse them, and will have to buy more. I'm not theorizing a conspiracy, BUT I refuse to believe there is any danger until it's documented. Until then, it's not a fact right? Pallets companies would also get sued if people got sick using them. End of discussion, unless somebody has actual evidence that chemicals not only stay with the pallet, BUT ALSO get people sick. Great topic.


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    thanks alot I went to er come to find our yes all that mess had gotten into my lungs and caused me to end up with phenmomia my husband will no longer be building inside the home thank goodness hoping to get better soon and get over this once again thanks for the advice