The National Wooden Pallet and Container Association put out a press release yesterday about the possible toxic hazards of plastic pallets because they contain the flame retardant deca-bromine. Non-fire retardant plastic pallets, meanwhile, can pose fire hazards according to the group.
"We recognize that alternative materials each have their place, and competition breeds innovation and quality improvements," said Bruce Scholnick, president of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association. "But if new technologies prove to be harmful or risky, it needs to be excluded from use. There are alternative fire retardants. Let's face it, they may be more expensive, but what price does one put on human health and our environment?"Lawmakers are reportedly beginning to ban the use of deca-bromine such as in Maine and Washington. Ten other states are said to have also introduced bills that would ban the flame retardant.
The group said wood pallets are a byproduct using wood discarded by furniture and home builders for cosmetic purposes.
The wooden pallets are recycled into new products such as landscape mulch, animal bedding, boiler fuel, firewood and wood stove pellets when they can no longer be repaired.
I guess the wood industry is beginning to feel the pinch of lower demand because the National Wood Flooring Association also put out a statement today touting the environmental benefits of wood flooring.
The group claimed that wood flooring has little impact on the environment in terms of raw materials and in terms of the natural resources required to harvest the trees and manufacture the lumber into a finished product.