19/09/05 Beetle fight extends to wood pallets
Pallet pest: Friday was the deadline to get in step with new rules on wood packing products such as pallets. The new rule, called International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures, or ISPM15, by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says solid wood imports and exports have to be heat-treated, meaning subjected to a high temperature for a certain period, or fumigated with methyl bromide. The treatment repels the Asian long-horned beetle, a tree killer. Treated pallets bear a seal that is checked by bridge inspectors, and if no seal is found or if a bug is spotted, the entire shipment will be turned back. Until Sept. 16, shippers were allowed to destroy the pallets or treat them at the bridge.
We'll find out this week whether it causes delays at the cargo facilities.
Several area companies might gain from the new rule. Tony Reed and Associates, on Remcon Circle, is aggressively promoting plastic pallets, and International Outsourcing Services, on South Alto Mesa, two years ago tripled the size of its Juárez plant that makes treated and untreated pallets.
In related beetle news, four states sued the Bush administration Thursday over the Asian long-horned beetle, according to the Associated Press. Attorneys general from New York, California, Connecticut and Illinois sought a court order to require the Agriculture Department to examine more effective and less environmentally harmful ways to prevent the insects from entering the country. They say the methyl bromide used to spray pallets depletes the ozone and could be a cancer risk. They propose to replace raw wood pallets with pallets made of plywood, processed wood or recycled plastic, a potentially expensive remedy.