Why Heat Treatment is Better Than Pallet Fumigation

There are certain international import laws to which wooden pallets must adhere. Heat treatment or pallet fumigation make up a few of these laws. Fumigation of wooden pallet products, though, can have severe effects. These include effects on physical health as well as the environment.

Currently, there are 184 countries around the world within the IPPC. This stands for the International Plant Protection Convention. Member countries agree to certain trade regulations and laws. These include treating wooden pallets and other packaging for pest elimination.

One of these requirements for wooden pallet products is ISPM 15. At Alora Pallets, we adhere strictly to using heat treatment over pallet fumigation. We do this for a few reasons:

  • Unlike fumigation, it carries no health risks.
  • It has no negative environmental effects.
  • The process reduces costs for both the business and supplier.

Methyl Bromide in Wooden Pallet Products

The main chemical used in most pallet fumigation is methyl bromide. Methyl bromide has also served as a pesticide, fumigant, and refrigerant in a wide variety of industries worldwide. In more recent times, the chemical has seen reduced usage in general. The same applies to the wood pallet industry.

Heat treated pallets

Heat treating pallets hold many advantages over fumigating them. Most importantly, heat treatment is far less harmful to humans and the environment.

Leaving wooden pallets aside, this chemical can have both short and long-term effects in humans. Exposure to the chemical can:

  • Damage lungs
  • Burn skin
  • Irritate eyes
  • Damage kidneys
  • Cause negative neurological effects

These serve as known effects, alongside several other identified health problems. The chemical also contributes to ozone damage in the Earth’s atmosphere. This allows harmful UV radiation to reach Earth’s surface. This stands in stark contrast to heat treatment.

The European Union banned the use of methyl bromide for most applications in 2005. Despite this, it was still allowed for use in quarantine and as a shipping steriliser until 2010. The USA has mostly followed suit, as well. They began to phase out methyl bromide in 2005, though have not yet banned its use in shipping situations.

Heat treatment for pallets is cost-effective in the long run. These savings are then passed onto the customer, who will save a significant amount of money further down the line.

Heat Treating Wooden Pallets

Heat treatment of wooden pallets is a far less harmful alternative to methyl bromide. While it requires heat, it produces only steam as a bi-product. And, as opposed to using chemicals, the heat treatment process heats the inside of the lumber to 56°C for 30 minutes. This eliminates all pests and infectious agents, without the risk of pallet fumigation. Wooden pallet products treated this way have no negative health or environmental effects.

The heating process is also much more cost-effective, and passes savings onto our customers. Over time, these savings can add up to a significant amount. This is especially true for businesses dealing in high-volumes. Unlike heat treating pallets, chemical fumigation requires transporting the pallets to specialised facilities. A side effect of this is that it also increases turnaround times.

Alora Pallets – A Preferred Supplier

At Alora Pallets, we prefer heat treating our wooden packaging products. We strongly believe in being environmentally responsible. We manage to do so while remaining efficient and competitive, for your benefit.

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