Are Wood Pallets Safe for Reuse Projects? It Depends

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Photo: Alexandra Vietti/Earth911

Photo: Alexandra Vietti/Earth911

On the surface, the ubiquitous pallet seems ideal for reuse: It’s wood, it’s recycled and it’s free. How can you go wrong? We’ve even featured a roundup of cool pallet crafts here on Earth911.

But it turns out that pallet wood can often be contaminated with toxic chemicals, harmful bacteria and other icky bad stuff you certainly don’t want in your home or around your family.

“You have to consider where [the pallet] came from, what’s been shipped on it and what you’re going to use it for,” explains Candice Miller, a horticulture educator and expert from the University of Illinois Extension.

“I think a lot of people see these cool ideas on the internet and on Pinterest, and they go for it. They really don’t think about what it’s been treated with, where it’s been or if it’s really safe to use.”

We know, it’s a bit of a downer to suggest that all pallet reuse is a bad idea. So, before reusing a pallet at home, read on for some things to consider to protect your health.

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