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HP Printer Hardware

HP to Researchers, 'Our Printers Are Safe' 89

Sidepocket_Pro sent us a link to this HP press release which reads, "Based on our own testing, HP knows that many variables can affect the outcome of tests for ultrafine particle emissions. Although HP is not aware of all of the specific methodologies used in the Queensland study, based on what we've seen in the report — as well as our own work in this area — we do not believe there is a link between printer emissions and any public health risk. Specifically, HP does not see an association between printer use by customers and negative health effects for volatile organic compounds, ozone or dust. While we recognize ultrafine, fine, and coarse particles are emitted from printing systems, these levels are consistently below recognized occupational exposure limits."
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HP to Researchers, 'Our Printers Are Safe'

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  • Sheeple (Score:2, Informative)

    by torkus ( 1133985 ) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @09:30AM (#20112683)
    So some research group writes a bunch of pages of nonsense and starts off the latest annoying "OMG YOUR OFFICE JOB MAY KILL YOU, News at 11" theme.

    Really, sheeple will listen to anything and take it as fact. I'm an IT manager at work and someone actually came to us yesterday with 'How do we get this printer replaced, it's a huge polluter, see attached study'. Luckily it was in email so he didn't hear me laughing.

    I mean, if you actually look at things there's stuff that doesn't make sense. At least one of HP's printers is listed in two different coulumns. It's 'above average but *may* be high'. So they list it in high as well. No further explanation, no reasoning, just FUD. Of course, people just automaticlly check the high column and don't read thst study or look at the others in detail.

  • by neapolitan ( 1100101 ) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @09:32AM (#20112699)
    All right, as one of Slashdot's numerous physician-readers, I'll chime in...

    As your intuition tells you, breathing stuff inside your lungs is, in general, quite bad. Your lung has numerous defense mechanisms that will swallow up inhaled gunk, known as macrophages, and to some degree destroy it. This system can be easily overwhelmed, and particles that are not able to be degraded by the macrophage essentially stay in the cell forever. This occurs after chronic and relatively large volume exposure, typically over many years, as common in coal miners.

    When you do your human dissections in medical school it is easy to tell the lungs of a smoker on gross examination, which have numerous black dots from macrophage-ingested carbon fragments. Even city-dwellers will have these particles. Breathing in coal particles gives something called Anthracosis [] which can cause numerous problems later on if severe. Breathing in asbestos particles and silica dust also gives similar problems, and can even increase risk of some cancers (mesothelioma) although this is, relatively speaking, quite overblown (smoking is orders of magnitude worse for you than transient asbestos exposure.)

    Reading through HP's statement (I'm new here), I feel it is actually well worded and reasonable. Walking past your laser printer is fine. We would all be suffering if it were a health risk. There is not a large amount of aerosol created by normal printer operation under normal conditions, and nanoparticles fine enough to be lobbed long distances (across the entire office) are typically breathed in and out and not lodged in the lungs.

    In summary, avoid breathing in any huge ball of black powder. Don't take out the printer cartridge, shake, and sniff, three times per day. Stop smoking. Finally, always take sensationalist research with a grain of salt (not several grains of toner.)
  • by DrDitto ( 962751 ) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @10:47AM (#20113171)
    A family member has run a toner remanufacturing business for nearly 20 years now. They have a filtration system in the room where cartridges are stripped down to pieces, rebuilt, and then refilled. But the room is still filthy even with fancy filtration. In the next room over, they have about 20 laser printers for testing, but no special filtration.

    In the 20 years of doing this, not one of their employees has had any lung problems.
  • Selenium Emissions (Score:5, Informative)

    by dprice ( 74762 ) <daprice.pobox@com> on Saturday August 04, 2007 @11:37AM (#20113509) Homepage
    A long time ago, I was reading a nutrition book, and it mentioned that a person could get a one's daily requirement for selenium from breathing the air near a photocopier or laser printer. One man's poison is another man's micronutrient.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 04, 2007 @11:48AM (#20113571)

    In the 20 years of doing this, not one of their employees has had any lung problems.

    Black lung disease (coal miners) and white lung disease (ship yard workers, from asbestos particles) don't become problems until decades after exposure. It is possible that someone who worked a few months in a toner cartridge refilling operation 20 years ago will start to have problems in the next 5 to 30 years. It is a hard thing to tell a lung crippled 70 year old that he would still be able to ski and climb mountains if only he hadn't taken that summer job in the shipyards when he was teen.

    I am not claiming that toner cartridge recycling is a hazardous business: I don't know. I do know that toner dust is known to be unhealthy.

  • by tylernt ( 581794 ) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @01:42PM (#20114367)
    Some high-end HP printers and (AFAIK) all enterprise-class HP laser MFPs (Multi-Function Printers) have hard drives 5GB for older models and 20GB and up for newer. The Job Storage feature isn't enabled by default, but your system administrator can enable it for scanned and/or printed jobs. However, they can also lock down the stored jobs so only the person who scanned/printed it has access to it, via a PIN or user/pass authentication.

    These products also have a "Secure Erase" feature, which will do a DoD wipe of the hard drive which you would be well advised to perform before selling it. This would prevent someone from removing the HD and putting it into a PC to view job data.

    I don't work with HP's consumer-class printers so I can't comment on their job storage features. However I doubt that many of them come equipped with HDs or even support an HD upgrade, and with their limited RAM I'm pretty sure no job storage is going on except for a "reprint last job" feature which wouldn't survive a power-cycle.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 04, 2007 @03:12PM (#20115005)
    What? You don't believe these labels that the tobacco companies willingly print on their cigarette packages? on/label-etiquette/graph/index_e.html []

    Health Canada used to advertise that arsenic was one of the toxins present in tobacco until I told them why it was present. (The FDA allows tobacco to be grown on lands banned for food agricultural use because of contamination from old arsenic based pesticides.) They pulled those ads pretty quick. They still advertise the remaining toxins they are sure of however, even though smoking sawdust will produce all the same contaminants. It has nothing to do with tobacco.

    Additionally, I proved time and time again that smokers are a net contributor to health care in Canada through the excessive taxes applied. Check the stats, its true. It is the extremely health conscious and hypochondriacs that cost the system. I have paid over $10000 in tobacco taxes in the last ten years and have not visited a doctor or a hospital even once, yet somehow I am supposed to be a burden on the health care system? Yeah sure.

    People eat propaganda right up, especially if it makes them feel righteous and superior.
  • by neapolitan ( 1100101 ) on Saturday August 04, 2007 @08:31PM (#20117103)
    Ok, have a few minutes so I'll post again.

    > Thanks for astroturfing though...

    Will give you the benefit of the doubt and respond (I'm new here) -- a good defense against astroturfing would be to look at the poster's record of posting, and if they are a real person, not some corporate shill or reporter. I haven't posted too much, but I assure you I'm a real person, not a paid HP representative. If you generally hate "the man" or anybody in a position of any power, I'm sorry... however, to appeal to your rationality I would point out that corporations can *help* people. I mean, the keyboard on which you are typing was made by a corporation. Your computer was too, and its processor. If you wanted a CPU made by noncommercial hippies, it would cost *more*, and would suck. OTOH, I'm not a corporate whore, and totally agree with the excesses of corporate greed and tendency toward exploitation once they get to a position of dominance -- however, that is why you intellectually analyze each position, as we did with this response from HP.

    I don't believe all corporate defenses are justified, or agree with them -- I agree with HP's response, in this specific case. No, I don't own any HP stock, nor am I affiliated with them in any way.

    > That's EXACTLY what a shill would say. Shill!

    See above. You are silly, and didn't address any concerns, just attacked me. I won't reply.

    > So doctor, what's your take on closing the lid before flushing? I've heard that leaving it open when flushing can spray tons of fecal matter around. I prefer to close it when I'm done anyways, but it's always good to be informed.

    Yes, would advise shutting it if you are concerned. There is probably a fine mist of crappy particles in every bathroom if you look hard enough. However, you must separate what is gross from what can make you sick. Every time you smell your little brother's noisy bum, you are breathing in something that was in his butt. Gross? Yes. Make you sick? Not at all, if you are healthy.

    >OT, I know, but does that mean that someone who's living in a city could start to suffer respiratory problems (like asthma) despite no previous symptoms as a direct result of all the crap they're breathing in?

    Yup -- inner city kids have a much higher prevalence of asthma; however, a lot of studies show that it is mostly moldy indoor conditions rather than generalized smog / particles in the city. Smog knows neither ghetto nor 5th avenue apartment, so all city-dwellers should be affected equally, but some groups will have more asthma, thought to be indoor chronic exposure.

    >For perspective -- how does normal-use printer dust compare with everyday household dust? how about farm dust, such as one might breathe during a long day plowing the fields or baling hay?

    Farm dust is bad, and tends to be higher exposure than household dust. For these particles that are not black, indigestible (by macrophages) particles, allergic reaction and inflammation in the lung tends to give the problem. There is something called "Farmer's lung." Wikipedia is not good on this topic, so here you go. ng.html []

    >Thanks, Doc! A well-worded comment from someone who can probably spell "ridiculous" and "definitely!
    >by the way, totally off topic, but love your UID =)

    You're welcome. Happy to provide on my (rare) day off. :)

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!