Are Wood Pallets Toxic Firewood?


Pallets are used throughout the world to transport and store everything from concrete blocks to canned beans. Industries have arisen to manufacture, repair and recycle used wooden pallets. Plastic pallets are becoming more popular because, unlike wooden pallets, they are durable and insect-resistant. Wooden pallets are sometimes chemically treated with insecticides and preservatives and should not be used for firewood.

Chemicals in Pallets

  • Wood pallets are commonly treated with chemicals that contain arsenic, formaldehyde and other toxic substances. Treated wood should not be used for firewood, home remodeling projects, landscaping or animal bedding because it may release the chemicals into the air or ground.

Identifying Treated Wood

  • Wood that has been chemically treated looks more brown, gray or green than untreated wood. Some wood has identifying marks to signify it has been treated. The wood can also be tested in a laboratory or in the field to see if chemicals are present. Painted wood, which is easier to identify, also should not be burned.

Recycling Wood Pallets

  • Untreated wood pallets can be used for fuel or salvaged for use in building, construction and landscaping projects. Check with your local municipality or waste recycling company for the best way to recycle or dispose of treated wood.

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