Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Printer IT Science

Office Printers May Pose Health Risks 227

Posted by Zonk
from the like-the-one-to-my-immediate-right dept.
drewmoney writes "The BBC reports on new findings which may have implications for the way offices are laid out. According to an Australian study, around a third of modern printer models release 'potentially dangerous levels of toner into the air' as they are completing a job. 'Almost one-third were found to emit ultra-tiny particles of toner-like material, so small that they can infiltrate the lungs and cause a range of health problems from respiratory irritation to more chronic illnesses. Conducted in an open-plan office, the test revealed that particle levels increased five-fold during working hours, a rise blamed on printer use. '"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Office Printers May Pose Health Risks

Comments Filter:
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:34AM (#20056477) Journal

    We worked out an agreement with all the smokers on the floor. We've installed our printer outside the front entrance about 20 feet away from the door. That's where all of the smokers go to take a break... they're saving money on cigarettes, and the office air is clean. Of course, it's a bit of a hassle waiting for the smokers to bring in our printouts.

    • they're saving money on cigarettes
      Not until they make nicotine toner cartridges they aren't.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ajs318 (655362)
      That's like the dodgy landlord who asked all prospective tenants if they smoked ..... if you said "yes" he put you in a house with asbestos, and if you said "no" he put you in a house with a gas leak.
  • by conspirator57 (1123519) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:36AM (#20056509)
    They release both paper dust and toner dust. I've known people who've gotten several sinus infections over their tenure near large print/shred stations (several B/W and color printers, fax, fine grain shredders.)

    Get a portable HEPA filter and droop it in the vicinity of your printers and your problems (if you have any) will get measurably better.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) *
      Our body can deal with normal dust size particles, including from paper... toner dust is extreamly fine, you need a special vaccume to really clean this stuff up. Breathing it would probably have simular effects of smoking being that the dust is so fine that you body cant expel it from the body causing irratitions.
    • by slughead (592713) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @11:23AM (#20057987) Homepage Journal
      They release both paper dust and toner dust. I've known people who've gotten several sinus infections over their tenure near large print/shred stations (several B/W and color printers, fax, fine grain shredders.)

      That's one explanation. The BBC also says that "particle levels rise" during work hours... note that it doesn't specify the type of particles... well here are some other explanations:

      1. Perfumes worn by employees
      2. Dead skin (which is what 'dust' usually is)
      3. Particulates stirred up by people walking around
      4. Higher speed air due to cooling/heating systems which release and stir up dust

      Does this remind anyone of "WiFi in schools causes cancer! Cell towers cause even more!" This was yet another BBC scare-story.

      I can't believe anyone even reads the BBC's science and technology articles, especially after that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Falesh (1000255)
        This is a small piece in the asia-pacific section of the site reporting the results of some research by a team of Australian scientists. That is hardly what I would call a scare story.

        Just because one scare story got through does not mean the reputation of the whole BBC is ruined, it just means that sometimes shit happens.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by davidsyes (765062)
      In the USN, I serviced our comm center's shredder (shredding to something like 1/32 of an inch, and reversing the unit would mean hours of unjamming effort), the 4 or so different teletypes in Radio and CIC, and the liquid and dry toner copiers on my own ship, but sometimes on the 2 or 3 ships in my DesRon (Destroyer Squadron) to which my command loaned me for days or up to 14 days.

      In 1986, between teletype courses, I learned to service the Savin 772S (or 722S?) liquid toner copier, the shipboard or marini
  • by IBBoard (1128019) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:37AM (#20056525) Homepage
    Managers across the country have been heard mumbling things like "Forget the employees, how can we recover all of this lost toner to extend toner cartridge life and reduce print costs?" and "So that's why our toner life was never as long as the brochure".
  • Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:38AM (#20056533) Journal
    Particulate pollution is common. If you live in a big city, you know what I'm talking about, just by seeing the crap that accumulates on your clothes after walking around for a few hours.

    This study says nothing that isn't trivially obvious. Does airborne toner represent a particular health threat above and beyond the whole "breathing particles into your lungs" thing, or is this just another "ZOMG! Stuff in the air!" study with no actual facts to back it up. Doubly annoying for them to compare it to smoking, because the least problem with smoking is the particulates.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arivanov (12034)
      Depends if this is particulate toner after thermal processing or particulate toner in the form found in the cartridge.

      Dunno about the former as it is bound to have larger and less active particles, but the latter is a known health hazard on par with glass dust and asbestos. Just look at any IT health and safety handbook under "dealing with toner spillages". It is supposed to be collected using specialised vacuum cleaners, you have to have the floor tiles replaced and so on. Unfortunately very few people fol
      • Re:Obvious (Score:5, Informative)

        by Raineer (1002750) * on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:55AM (#20056797)

        Further to this, I find these findings quite strange. Most manufacturers go to insane lengths to avoid toner emission into the air so that they do not get an asbestos style class action suit.

        Eh, maybe for smaller office printers they do but not in the commercial "toner" printing industry (like phone bills and the like). My company's printers (and our competitors) dust the entire room at an alarming rate. After working on a more dirty problem it's very likely to come out looking like a coal miner, black snot and all.

        The problem is these get installed in your typical raised-floor computer rooms in the same area as storage and CPU's, sometimes not more than 10-20 feet away.

        Toner isn't asbestos. Sure it's particulate and it may even be harmful (as an obstruction, like anything else) but there are way too many lifelong printer repairman in my company and lung/breathing issues are no more common here than anywhere else. I know a large number of them personally and the health problems just don't exist in any substantial amount. The division that deals with HDD and tape manufacturer has had a lot more public health issues with their materials.

        Sure our company has funded studies which say Carbon Black is not harmful, but of course we all take this with a large grain of salt. I rely much more highly on the people I have personally known over the years.

        • by arivanov (12034)
          Sure it's particulate and it may even be harmful. So is asbestous. Chemically asbestous is a very inert material. You are right, so far the statistical evidence is that toner it is not particularly harmfull. None the less, I have always tried to chose the furthest possible part of an open office plan from the printing station.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Darth_brooks (180756)
        Further to this, I find these findings quite strange. Most manufacturers go to insane lengths to avoid toner emission into the air so that they do not get an asbestos style class action suit.

        Today's my last day on the job as my company's resident "printer bitch." After a year and a half on the job I can safely say that most the toner emission doesn't usually come from normal use. It comes from directly from fucksticks.

        Over time, printers will spill some toner that will eventually work its way out of the pri
      • by afidel (530433)
        Actually toner is NOT a carcinogen because the carbon black (which is dubiously linked to cancer to begin with) is bound within a polymer matrix in the toner. For more info see this [inist.fr] study related to carbon black as it relates to toner and California prop 65.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/hous e hold/brands?tbl=brands&id=8020008&query=Toner&sear chas=type&prodcat=all [nih.gov]

      "Prolonged inhalation of excessive amounts of any dust may cause lung damage. Use of this product as intended does not result in inhalation of excessive amounts of dust."

      They rate it as low risk mainly BECAUSE it's not airborne during normal use. This study says that it is. It also says it's a possible carcinogen.

      I just picked a cartridge at random, so there may be som
    • I wasn't aware that toner dust was being emitted. I was aware that the printers do emit ozone though, I smell a faint hint of it from time to time. It might be a double-whammy, though the toner seems minuscule to non-existent in comparison.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      Having worked where there is a lot of coal dust in the air and occasional asbestos I'm not ready to dismiss it out of hand (especially since I haven't read the article yet). What is important is size, shape, numbers and what it does when it gets in your lungs. Inert material is suprisingly paticularly nasty - it doesn't break down so it stays in there to scratch away at lung tissue as your lungs move (major cause of damage from asbestos).
    • by wsanders (114993)
      What's obvious to me is that the smell of even trace amounts of toner in the air can attract lawyers.

      Crap, now everyone is going to put that knowledge to use by putting laser printers at the bottom of deep holes lined with pungee sticks.
  • I work in an office where there are nice projectors in every conference room and everyone has a lap top. Still, there are a few dinosaurs that bring stacks of printed slides for everyone in a meetingif they are presenting. Why do some people still do this? In my opinion, and printer is about as valuable in a modern office as horse stalls are in a modern firehouse.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by HitekHobo (1132869)
      Err.. I have killed a tree or two printing out RFC's because it was just more comfortable to read them in a different position. Bad hacker! Bad!
    • Why do some people still do this?

      They need -something- to do!
    • Why do some people still do this?


      Uh...because you can't have people sign contracts that are being projected on a screen. Well, you could, but I don't know if you'd want to.
    • by N Monkey (313423) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:35AM (#20057295)

      In my opinion, and printer is about as valuable in a modern office as horse stalls are in a modern firehouse.

      Why do I still print?

      Because when I have 3 or more documents I'm reading to review etc, it's more convenient to be able to

      a) flick between the pages of different documents

      b) underline/highlight/ make notes in the margins

      c) carry them with me/ dump them on a couch/chair while reading.

      d) I often need the computer screen to write a review document.

      My PC screen's resolution isn't up to the job of having multiple documents open side-by-side (and the laptop's is even worse). Furthermore,the interface to Acrobat/Word/anything for that matter, is pathetically slow. A mouse and keyboard are no substitute for human hands on paper combined with a simple pen.

      Maybe when we have desks that are touch sensitive LCDs with 10k*10k resolution, things may change.

      • by hawkfish (8978)

        Maybe when we have desks that are touch sensitive LCDs with 10k*10k resolution, things may change.

        You mean like this [youtube.com]?
    • by kobaz (107760)
      I read an article not too long ago where the conclusion was that printer and paper usage has gone up along with email and im usage. People tend to print out their two line emails.

      I just don't get it. If I send my boss a two page software design spec, the first thing he does is print it out, read it at his desk, and email me back any changes that are needed.
    • by frdmfghtr (603968)

      I work in an office where there are nice projectors in every conference room and everyone has a lap top. Still, there are a few dinosaurs that bring stacks of printed slides for everyone in a meetingif they are presenting. Why do some people still do this?

      There are plenty of reasons why paper is still useful, and in some cases easier to use than a full paperless solution.

      (1) Paper doesn't have parts that can fail
      (2) Paper doesn't require a cable
      (3) Paper doesn't spontaneously crash
      (4) You can draw on paper

  • by Njoyda Sauce (211180) <jnjpepper&hotmail,com> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:40AM (#20056563)
    Time to get the bats out again.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...only laser printers shed toner powder into the air.
    • by Klaidas (981300)
      I believe this might be because they DON'T use toner? [/sarcasm]
      No, really, thanks capt. Obvious.
    • by ajs318 (655362)
      Pity, really. If they did, you could double the value of your clothes by standing next to one!
    • "only laser printers shed toner powder into the air."

      ... you forgot fax machines and photocopiers ...

      Also, ink jet printers emit solvents - that's why they dry out, and also how they print. If the solvent in the ink didn't evaporate, your injet prints would stay wet, and smear.

      Of course, even booze can be harmful to your health if you're a dickhead [trolltalk.com].

  • Am I safe? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <[shadow.wrought] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:41AM (#20056577) Homepage Journal
    Do I have to worry about the toner particles when I open up my e-mails? Or is it only a problem if I open the attachment?
  • Smog (you should see a typical Chinese city nowadays - it's downright chewable), Toxic fumes from nearly every type of mechanical combustion and any outdoor process that stirs up dust, now this... and yet the news is still soaked with how 'those eeevil smokers' are out to kill us all with their eeevil second-hand smoke.

    Will this study form a new scapegoat? Nah. It's easier to simply blame people who partake of a particular vice, especially since it's politically correct to hate anyone who participates in

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:13AM (#20057021)

      especially since it's politically correct to hate anyone who participates in it.

      No, we hate people who participate in it because of their unbelievably rude practice of subjecting everybody else to their filthy reeking emissions. Stale smoke smells like fucking shit.

      Since so few smokers through the years have taken it upon themselves to do the civilized thing and ensure that nobody around them has to experience their vile backwashed fumes, the victims are banding together to help the smokers learn what should have been common courtesy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        *** HOW ABOUT? ***

        No, we hate people who participate in it because of their unbelievably rude practice of subjecting everybody else to their filthy reeking emissions. Car exhaust smells like fucking shit.

        Since so few drivers through the years have taken it upon themselves to do the civilized thing and ensure that nobody around them has to experience their vile backwashed fumes, the victims are banding together to help the drivers learn what should have been common courtesy.

        *** OR ***

        No, we hate pe

      • Stale smoke smells like fucking shit.

        Same with perfume/cologne, vehicle emissions (as covered elsewhere, and yes it often stinks), campfires, barbecues (esp. if the guy is cooking seafood on it), certain restaurants, dog excrement (which many owners have no problems at all with leaving in situ), and a whole host of other activities which human activities manage to promulgate.

        ...your point?

        Since so few smokers through the years have taken it upon themselves to do the civilized thing and ensure that nobody around them has to experience their vile backwashed fumes, the victims are banding together to help the smokers learn what should have been common courtesy.

        Nice stereotype... 'they're eeevil! eeevil I tell you! we're just the victims here, fighting one last desperate stand against Joe Camel Vader!"

        Umm

    • by Valdrax (32670)
      Toxic fumes from nearly every type of mechanical combustion and any outdoor process that stirs up dust, now this... and yet the news is still soaked with how 'those eeevil smokers' are out to kill us all with their eeevil second-hand smoke.

      So basically your argument boils down to the teenager's "Well everybody else is doing it, so why can't I?"
      Tch. Everybody thinking that way means that no one will do the right thing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Penguinisto (415985)

        So basically your argument boils down to the teenager's "Well everybody else is doing it, so why can't I?"

        No - but I do find it funny that no matter what story about air quality comes out, it invariably gets compared to the same thing - smoking.

        In spite of this, we have industry belching out (in spite of progress) far more particulates and pollutants, and the average daily freeway load of cars pouring out far more in the way of toxic gases.

        ...and yet it's some anonymous schmuck who lights up a cigarette that gets held up in effigy.

        It's a proportional argument, IMHO.

        /P

  • I thought the EU and national governments had already issued health guidance for laser printers in Europe because they are known to emit dangerous levels of Ozone and other chemicals. As I recall printers had to be a certain number of meters away from the nearest desk and in a well ventilated office. Here is some existing information I found by googling:-

    http://www.lhc.org.uk/members/pubs/factsht/76fact. pdf [lhc.org.uk]

    http://www.safety.ed.ac.uk/resources/General/print ers.shtm [ed.ac.uk]

    Certainly under United Kingdom health and
    • Re:Ozone and Toner (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ravenscall (12240) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @09:51AM (#20056733)
      At least here in the US part of the issue is the users as well. I cannot count the number of times a printer was down and I had users grumbling that they had to walk 20 yards as opposed to 5 to get thier printouts. It is not as simple as employee morale being inversely related to distance from printers, but the way they complain you would think it is.

      Probably says something about why we have an obesity epidemic to boot.
  • At a previous job, my desk was next to two printers. I kept feeling sick, and blamed it on the printers, but its not always easy to convince management of that without some kind of study to point to.

    (They did listen, once I started using sick days.)
  • How do these dangerous particles compare to those of say... a single lit candle?

    The human body has a way of defending itself against all sorts of nasty stuff. Generally, things aren't bad for you unless you're exposed in excess. Apples contain cyanide, potatoes contain solanine, and cars emit carbon monoxide. Let's avoid all of them!
    • So if I understand your logic, since apples contain cyanide and do not seem to be dangerous, it's OK to expose yourself to some more cyanide for no particular reason.
      The idea with laser printers is not to ban their use, but simply to put them in dedicated places where no worker spends over 2000 hours every year.
    • The human body has a way of defending itself against all sorts of nasty stuff. Generally, things aren't bad for you unless you're exposed in excess. Apples contain cyanide, potatoes contain solanine, and cars emit carbon monoxide. Let's avoid all of them!

      Yes, the body has a way of defending itself against all sorts of nasty stuff that have been naturally occuring in our habitat during evolution. Humans have no defense against sub 10 micrometer particles and they can get straight down to the pulmonary alve

  • "PC Load Letter"? What the fuck does that mean?
  • I'll be honest: whenever I hear about a new health risk coming from the British press, I just tune it out and start thinking of how they banned wifi in schools to protect young sebastion [slashdot.org].
    • by Ravenscall (12240)
      We're only making plans for Nigel.
    • by pev (2186)
      Nice attitude. Oddly enough our American cousins were similarly bullish in 1982 when car seatbelts became compulsory in the UK. This is estimated to save around 2000 lives a year (we have 64Million-ish population for those not in the know).

      Then again this is exactly what evolution is all about and I'm all for Darwin's finest theory. If you want to breathe in toner, not wear a seatbelt or ride a motorcycle without a helmet etc Go For It.

      ~Pev
    • by Archtech (159117)
      Actually, it was originally the Australian media, reporting the findings of Professor Lidia Morawska from the Queensland University of Technology and her colleagues.
  • 1. It is exactly the kind of scare tactic news stories that papers spread when EVERY scientist in the world disagrees with them. 2. It is being reported by the BBC, but Australian scientists made the claim. Could the Australians not find a SINGLE Australian paper that thought they were believeable as well as sensational?
    • Same story from Australian paper. [brisbanetimes.com.au]

      Dude. 30 seconds on Google.
      • by gurps_npc (621217)
        I did check after I posted

        But NO, it is NOT the same story.

        The Australian paper has MUCH more information, most of which is VERY important. Things like the fact that a single pritner was at worst, as bad as a single ciggarette. Things like the fact that they admitted no knoweldge of whether the particles were bad for you. Things like most (more than 1/2) of the printers they checked did not emit any particles.

    • I'm also skeptical of the validity of the test: levels of particulate were higher during the workday. Duh! People are walking around and moving things during the day. You could have had a toner spill somewhere, the night cleaning crew vacuums it up, effectively distributing the micro-particles everywhere. Then, during the daytime, as people are milling about, they kick up the residue, which includes toner.
  • This was one of the reasons older offices had printer rooms. Smell, noise, dust and printing mistakes stayed out of sight. I wish more people did this now, because these printers while greatly improved are still smelly, noisy, dusty, greasy and prone to spit out bad jokes, spam, misplaced personal data and "best of" Slashdot trolls, at least in this office.
  • solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:01AM (#20056863) Homepage Journal
    So should we all move towards solid ink [xerox.com]. Less consumables, no getting dirty refilling toner cartridges. No toner cartridges to throw away, although there is one major consumable every 7-10K pages. I guess if a toner is refilled at least three times it is about the same.
  • One more reason to park the printer in a separate room behind a closed door. We used to have a printer in our (open-plan) office. The noise and the smell drove me crazy. I managed get the printer banished eventually. I still can't believe what people will subject themselves to, to save having to get up and walk 10m to get their printouts. When you're sitting in an office for 8h/day, any excuse to get up and stretch your legs should be welcome.
  • Try looking at the big picture. Laser printers, except for the controller circuitry and print interface, use the exact same technology of common Xerographic copy machines (first invented around 1938, almost 70 years ago). Of which Xerographic copiers have been in use over 2 times as long as laser printers (invented in 1971 by Xerox). So why is this now suddenly such a big deal?

    First they blamed the cars, then smokers, then power plants, then trucks, now laser printers? Why don't we just throw up our hands a
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aadvancedGIR (959466)
      "So why is this now suddenly such a big deal?"

      Let's see... because, on 9/11 alone, more people died prematurely of cancer than of terrorism. Office pollution is the most dangerous thing around, but it is something that can be easily corrected (of course, if walking 5m to get a printout is a problem to you, odds are you already have a short life expectancy).

      "Why don't we just throw up our hands and walk around with oxygen tanks and masks?"

      Because, 1- in excess, O2 is toxic and 2- large scale bottled O2 produ
    • by nasch (598556)

      Try looking at the big picture. Laser printers, except for the controller circuitry and print interface, use the exact same technology of common Xerographic copy machines (first invented around 1938, almost 70 years ago).

      Other than the control parts and the printing parts they're exactly the same? So in other words they're completely different? Or are you saying they use the same kind of toner? Even if that's true, it doesn't imply they pose the same health hazard, if everything else about them is different.

      • by ajs318 (655362)
        Actually, the printing mechanism is almost the same. The big difference is how the image gets onto the drum. In a photocopier, light is reflected from the white parts of the paper onto the negatively-charged drum, where it displaces electrons; in a laser printer, a laser beam is used to remove charge selectively. In a photocopier, the toner is uncharged and sticks to the negatively-charged portions of the drum where light did not hit (corresponding to the black parts of the paper). In a laser printer,
  • What about walking? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gazzonyx (982402) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:11AM (#20056989)

    Conducted in an open-plan office, the test revealed that particle levels increased five-fold during working hours, a rise blamed on printer use.
    I'm just throwing out the idea that many people walking around on the carpet during office hours may be kicking up toner dust that has settled in the carpet. You'd be amazed how much crap is kicked up from a carpet with just a few people walking on it. For those of us with wood floors, how long after you mop or clean the floor until you see dust starting to collect? For me, it's a week or so. Imagine all that being churned by people walking on it all day.
  • Funny how an article on the dangers of toner in the air is using a picture of an HP inkjet printer.
  • the test revealed that particle levels [in the air] increased five-fold during working hours, a rise blamed on printer use.
    Alternatively, there are more airborne particles by day because:
    • by night, the office is empty, and the little particles land on furniture and carpets.
    • by day, the office is full of people, who move about and launch them back into the air.
    • So what, because toxic particules can land on furnitures and the become airbone again before being breathed, it makes them less toxic?
  • by techiemikey (1126169) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @10:20AM (#20057113)
    Well, this explains why i always like that "fresh printer smell" after printing out a document at work. I always thought it was just the sense of accomplishment, but apparently it's just yet another thing bad for me. Figures...first the McDonalds...now the printers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Raineer (1002750) *

      For the record, that "fresh printer smell" is Ozone generated by the high-voltage corona wires charging the drum (and the air). Toner is just a really dry feeling in your nose.

      I agree with the moderation, though...funny :)

  • Unlikely (Score:2, Informative)

    by tomkost (944194)
    I used to repair copiers and printers for a living. I would come home and have to blow my nose to get all the toner out. Never noticed any ill effects. I'm sure there are some people who might be allergic, but not many. Toner is mixture of polyester, carbon, and wax, none of which is known to be very harmful. Check the MSDS. http://www.lanier.com/page.php/toner%20msds [lanier.com]. Perhaps the color toner is worse, they did not have that in my day.

    Probably just another alarmist story from the UK...
  • FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by boyfaceddog (788041) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @11:49AM (#20058397) Journal
    I love this part;
    "ultra-tiny particles of toner-like material"

    I don't know which is more obnoxious - the non-measurement-measument (ultra-tiny is not a size) or the mis-statement of hazards. The material is either toner or it isn't. If the material is toner, say it is toner. If the material isn't toner, tell me waht it is. There is no "toner like material" in a toner-based printer other than the toner itself.
    • FUD, indeed. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by adolf (21054)
      Some printers and copiers use a consumable developer, as well as toner. It can be packaged seperately [amazon.com], or togetherly [amazon.com] along with the toner in a disposable cartridge, as was the case with the fleet of Sharp printers we used to use at work.

      I'd like to further submit that such developer product quite plainly consists of "ultra-tiny particles of toner-like material."

      FWIW, HTH, HAND, etc.
  • by PhloppyPhallus (250291) on Tuesday July 31, 2007 @11:51AM (#20058435) Homepage
    I used to work in the research labs of a major printer/copier manufacturer. We did extensive testing of chemical emissions for all laser/toner based products, from desk top models to huge production printers. Tests were done in a variety of formats, but in general the machine was placed in a well sealed room and allowed to operate for hours. Usually there would be a specified air change rate, say the volume of the room every six hours, but sometime the concentration was allowed to build in a room with no air change. Every few minutes throughout the test an air sample was collected from a special chamber on the test room wall. The air sample would be run through optical, chemical and mass spectrometry testing to determine the chemical composition - we looked specifically for about 20 different chemicals which were known to be emitted in quantity, were regulated, or were likely to be regulated because they posed a known health risk. All laser printers emit airborne chemicals - this is known and it is tested to make sure the chemical emission rates and the air concentrations in even the stuffiest of closets are well below any known safety limits. This isn't a new approach, either - I was once tasked with surveying the results of all air quality tests done on currently-in-use printers made by the company, and testing was performed up-to-standard for all machines developed since the mid-80s. Still, that said, you can always work to reduce the concentration of chemicals in the air by ensuring that you place you office copier in a well ventilated and open room. Air change rate and room size are the primary factors which determine the steady-state concentration of airborne chemicals.
  • There's a place I know.
    Where Xerox copiers glow.
    And ever dang millisec
    another sheet gets flecked
    Slathered with toner, the particulate kind
    So in the air it should be easy to find
    All kinds of glop, by the bucket and pail
    for all bystanders to strongly inhale.

    So everybody at Kinko's is dead.

    So everybody at Kinko's is dead.
  • Yeah, let's get behind a movement that allows the governments of the world to sneak into the house, just in case this 'threat' is real. I mean really, "SMOKING ONE CIGARETTE IS DEADLY" so let's use the assertion for global takeover. We must protect us from ourselves.

    (Really: not one person has EVER died from a cigarette....or even 200, unless there was an allergy discovered. To view second hand smoke (1/100 the real thing) as deadly is wrong and meant to steal rights. Smokers smoke for DECADES before th

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

Working...