One user in this pallet project metafilter says,
“Pallet furniture is actually a big deal right now, as used pallets are an endemic disposal problem throughout the industrialized world. But what’s being talked about is recycling the wood and using that wood to build furniture, basically a heavy-duty woodworking project rather than an ad-hoc money-saver.”
How to NOT DIE When Reusing Pallets
As one commenter on the original Re-nest pallet patio furniture post says,
“Please, remember what pallets are designed for – they have to withstand water, wind and weather and are therefore soaked in all kinds of nasty chemicals.”
This is only partly true. Just like any lumber, some wood is “pressure treated” (to withstand water, et all) and some is not.
Guess what one of the carcinogenic chemicals used to pressure treat lumber is?
Arsenic…yeah, as in the poison.
Now supposedly there was an EPA ruling in 2001 that abolished the use of aresnic as a wood treatment, but I have reason to believe it is still used today.
Back in 2007 I worked part-time in the lumber department of Home Depot for a short while. During an electrodermal screening in mid 2008 my certified family herbalist found several toxin levels to be startlingly and unusually high.
Guess what one of them was…yup, arsenic.
Anyway, just be sure to salvage non-pressure treated pallets for any project you choose. If you don’t know how to tell if the wood is pressure treated by looking at it, just ask the business or person you’re getting it from. They should know.