Some Laser Printers as Bad as Secondhand Smoke

Such were the findings from research recently undertaking at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. The researchers went to a six-storey office building in the states capital, Brisbane, planning to test its ventilation system. In the process they tested the buildings laser printers. About a third of the machines were considered to be high emitters of ultra fine particles, with 2 medium, 4 low and 23 were non emitters. (see complete list of models in the SF Chronicle article) The emissions they discovered both in the office and later in lab tests reveal the particles were fine enough to infiltrate the lungs, causing damage equal to inhaled cigarette smoke. The study found the problem of indoor quality increased five-fold during work hours due to printer use. Researchers determined that printers emitted more particles when new toner cartridge were installed, and when printing graphics and images, as they require greater quantities of toner. Their suggestions for improved health: better ventilation (and we assume that doesn't mean re-circulated 'conditioned' air, chose non-emitting models of printers, place them as far from peoples desks as possible, and lobby for government regulated emission standards for laser printers. Oddly photocopiers were found to be "not nearly as problematic as the laser printers," according to researcher, Professor Lidia Morawska (pictured). Via ABC Radio, The Age and San Francisco Chronicle (the latter also having a link to the complete study).

Related Content on