Stay ahead of the curve with Timbermen expertise.
A unit of the United Nations known as the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is developing a worldwide standard to minimize the risk of spreading insect pests across continental boundaries to the detriment of the world's forests. Native plants are often unable to defend themselves from foreign pests. The chestnut blight which was introduced into North America in the early 20th century is a notable example of this type of event. The American Chestnut, once one of the dominant hardwood species of the Appalachian region, was virtually wiped out by this blight. Other examples of very harmful foreign pests being inadvertently imported to our country include the gypsy moth and the Formosan termite. Europeans are concerned about a conifer pest in our country known as the pinewood nematode.
The IPPC issued a draft standard in May, 2001, which describes several treatment methods for the elimination of pests which may be residing in wood pallets or crating. These methods include heat treating, chemical fumigation, pressure treating, irradiation, etc. Heat treating is expected to be the most cost effective and widely adopted method for meeting these standards. The standard calls for all wood packaging to be heated to a core temperature of 56°C (133°F) for at least 30 minutes, and marked to indicate treatment. The treating and marking of such lumber in the U.S. is to be audited and regulated by the American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC), a unit of the USDA.
The European Union recently issued Emergency Requirements designed to block the entry of the pinewood nematode into Europe. The requirements went into effect October 1, 2001 and required that all coniferous wood entering Europe to be either heat treated or pressure treated, and marked to indicate treatment. The IPPC, meanwhile, is expected to vote on final standards in March of 2002. It is expected that the standard will be expanded to cover all wood, both coniferous and non-coniferous. Implementation of the new standard will probably vary by country, and is not expected to occur prior to the 4th quarter of 2002.
Once again, The Timbermen, Inc. is ahead of the curve, being one of the few pallet manufacturing companies in the U.S. to have any capability at all to produce heat treated pallets. We have recently placed an order to double our dry kiln capacity in anticipation of growing demand for heat treated pallets. We already have all the required stamps and an auditing contract with Timber Products Inspection Inc., an agency of the ALSC.