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How to Avoid Moldy Pallets

Mold on pallets has become a significant concern to some manufacturers. In the last year, several high-publicized product recalls were blamed on pallets treated against mold with the fungicide 2,4,6-tribromophenol, or TBP. When a pallet treated with TBP becomes wet, the chemical can break down into another chemical known as TBA, which releases a moldy, musty smell. In some instances, that odor could be absorbed by the product transported on the pallet. Or so some manufacturers claim.

Litco International, Inc., makers of presswood pallets, has developed a new white paper for companies concerned about mold on their pallets. The paper includes information on the best ways to handle pallets to prevent the growth of mold for companies in sensitive industries, such as food, health care and apparel. It also includes information on how the materials used to construct pallets may prevent the growth of mold.

TBP is banned in the U.S. and none of the pallets involved in those recalls was manufactured in the United States. Still, the controversy put a spotlight on pallets in industries that are most concerned about mold contaminating their products, including food, pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods companies. Purchasing managers in those industries have issued new guidelines that require suppliers to provide pallets that have not been treated with any chemicals or, in some instances, that wooden pallets be dried to an average 8% moisture content.

The Litco white paper addresses these questions: Are these effective measures for preventing mold? If not, what should a shipper do? It also summarizes the findings and recommendations for preventing mold from the National Wooden Pallet & Container Association and the Department of Wood Science and Forest Products at Virginia Tech.

To download the mold white paper, visit

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