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Wood pallets versus plastic shipping pallets

The battle over the use of decaBDE (decabromodiphenyl ether) in plastic shipping pallets rages on, but it seems that the primary player is getting nervous. Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS), the most important plastic pallet supplier for the transport and the storage of food, had publicly posted a life cycle analysis (LCA) that showed that every one of its pallets contains 3.4 lbs of decaBDE. The company has caused quite a stir by recently attempting to inconspicuously lower the amounts of the decaBDE chemical that is shown on its LCA charts. These subtle number changes certainly diminish this pallet company's integrity and the reliability of the reports.

Controversial chemical
DecaBDE (decabromodiphenyl ether) belongs to a group of brominated substances which are frequently used as flame retardants in plastic shipping pallets. Although flame retardant products save lives, numerous unintentional problems have resulted from exposure to the chemicals that are used; studies have associated these chemicals with thyroid, liver and neurological developmental toxicity.

False numbers
Since August 2008, iGPS publicly and happily promoted its life cycle analysis results of 3.4 lbs because this is the level that is necessary for the plastic shipping pallet company to be able to advertise its pallets as being equivalent to wooden pallets in terms of fire safety; heat treated wooden pallets are presently the point of reference for pallet fire safety.

With all the bad press that plastic shipping pallets have received lately concerning pharmaceutical company recalls and tainted butter, it seems that the plastic pallet supplier has suddenly decided to quietly lower its numbers relating to the volume of decaBDE in its shipping pallets; the decaBDE volume on the Website "miraculously plunged" from 3.4 lbs to 1.5 lbs overnight.
This change in what were supposedly accurate and research supported figures brings forth many questions such as "If the volume in the life cycle analysis was wrong, why didn't iGPS say anything and publicly make known the correct numbers?"

Wooden crates and pallets
Wood has proven over and over that it is an efficient, safe and cost-effective material to use to manufacture wooden pallets and crates. Wood continues to be a material of choice in kitchens; wood is used to produce cutting boards, rolling pins, serving spoons and barbeque skewers.

As consumers, we rely on a large and complex food distribution and supply chain. The pallet industry is a critical part of this chain, pallet manufacturers and distributors must ensure that our shipping pallets and wooden crates are safe for our consumer goods. Until the accurate volume of decaBDE found in plastic shipping pallets is truly known, decaBDE has no place in the food supply chain.

L.C.N. inc. was the first North American wood pallet manufacturer to offer heat treated wooden pallets. At L.C.N. inc., we guarantee that our heat treated wooden pallets and wooden crates meet the strictest cleanliness and sterilization standards as required by the food and pharmaceutical industries.

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L.C.N inc.
1180, Route 243, C.P. 210
Saint-Félix-de-Kingsey (Québec)

Telephone: 819 848-2521
fax: 819 848-2424
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