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Beware of Pinterest Pallet Project


Pinterest has instructions on how to make hundreds of different do-it-yourself pallet projects, ranging from entryway benches and shadowboxes to bed frames and coffee tables. Using just a few basic supplies, you can transform an otherwise ordinary wooden pallet into a stylish furnishing for your home. While projects such as this may seem harmless enough, though, they can actually harbor some alarming dangers.


One potential danger associated with projects involving wooden pallets is the potential for stray nails. Assuming the pallet was previously used in a commercial/industrial setting (which is pretty common), it's likely to contain nails embedded into the wood. Conventional wisdom should tell you to remove the nails before you begin a project, although it's not always easy to find them. Some pallets may have nails hidden underneath the planks, in the corners, and on the sides.


Wooden pallets are also a serious fire hazard. Federal and state governments have passed laws regulating the type of material used to manufacture furniture. This was done to reduce the number of residential house fires by requiring furniture companies to use flame-resistant materials. Wooden pallets, on the other hand, are not flame-resistant. On the contrary, they'll turn into a blazing ball of flame when exposed to fires or hot embers.

Germs and Chemicals

It's not something most people want to think about, but wood – including the kind used in pallets – may contain bacteria, mold and other nasty germs. Wood is incredibly porous, meaning it's able to hold moisture, germs and chemicals. Several studies have even found traces of the carcinogen formaldehyde in the pores of wooden pallets. Does this mean you'll get sick by decorating your home with a pallet coffee table? Not necessarily, as there are no studies directly linking to pallets to illness. However, most level-headed people are not willing to take that chance.

How To Choose a Safe Pallet

After reading the hazards mentioned above, you're probably ready to give up on your wooden pallet project. Thankfully, there are “safe” wooden pallets out there; you just need to know what to look for. Pallets boasting the IPPC logo, for instance, indicate it was heat treated or fumigated using Methyl Bromide. This same logo will also reveal its country of origin, depicted in a two-letter country code (e.g. US). Opting to use a wooden pallet manufactured in the United States would be safer than using a pallet made overseas due to the strict standards.

One more thing you should look for when choosing a wooden pallet is the debarked logo. This is essentially a recycle sign, indicating it was made from debarked round wood. Why is this important? Well, pests often hide in the bark, and bringing a barked pallet into your home could release these nasty little critters.

To recap, wooden pallets have some surprising hazards that most people are completely unaware of. But you can safely create DIY wooden pallet projects by choosing the right pallets. Look for pallets with the IPCC and debarked logos that were made in the U.S.

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