EPAL/EUR-pallets – treated with harmful chemicals?

For years the chemical treatment of pallets and the wood used for the manufacture within the EPAL/EURpallet pool was limited to an absolute risk free minimum.

The only approved chemical substances “Sinesto AS” (approved 08.2006 – 11.2009) and “Celbrite FS1” (approved since 09.2003) are added to a soaking bath in which either the timber or the entire pallets are soaked. This prevents blue stain. In the past, this form of soaking treatment was used to prepare timber and pallets respectively for long transports to avoid staining.

The treatment in the soaking bath against blue stain is only utilized for particular wood species and exclusively in the summer months as otherwise there is no risk of staining. The manufacturers of both substances assured us upon our inquiries that no danger of impairment of smell or taste is posed by the agents. Furthermore, the UIC administered comprehensive tests in the course of the approval of the agents and guaranties neutrality of taste and smell.

Since 01.01.2010, all manufacturers are obliged to heat treat (HT) newly produced EPAL/EUR-pallets according to the international ISPM 15 standard. The gas treatment with methyl bromide (MB) also allowed in line with the ISPM 15 regulations is expressively forbidden for EPAL/EUR-pallets and is never carried out. This applies everywhere world-wide where EPAL/EUR-pallets are manufactured and repaired. In most cases this treatment is combined with artificial drying (KD) as it generally applies for EPAL/EUR-pallets that they must be dried to no more than 22 % residual moisture content at the time of delivery. After a KD treatment any chemical treatment is unnecessary and financially not feasible.

The danger of a subsequent treatment by pallet users to us seems to be very little as the expenses are very high and there is no use. This way we can be sure that there are no wood preserving agents other than the ones mentioned above on EPAL/EUR-pallets. This includes the TBP- and phenol compounds which you inquired separately.

Apart from regular controls carried out by independent inspection companies at EPAL/EUR-pallet manufacturers, the repair in licensed companies is subject to constant quality controls, too. Furthermore, the inspection companies carry out so-called “market observations” at unlicensed companies and pallet users and inspect the quality of EPAL/EUR-pallets in the pool in random samples.

Source: European Pallet Association

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