Friday, November 30, 2007

Office printers can kill you

Nowadays there is little doubt as to the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ), since modern society tends to spend the vast majority of time in various types of indoor environments. In addition to the penetration of pollutants from outdoor air, most indoor built environments contain air pollution sources that release fibers, particles, organic vapors, or inorganic gases. Many studies have reported associations between health complaints and poor IAQ, and there is mounting evidence that exposure to poor IAQ leads to excess morbidity and mortality.
Various types of printers are widely used in offices and homes around the world and they have become standard indoor electronic equipment. However, they are a potential source of indoor pollutants, producing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone, as well as a variety of particle emissions. So far there have been only a few studies on printer emissions, but it appears that there are large differences in the emission levels among different types of printers. Smola et al. measured the emissions of seven different printers from leading manufacturers and recorded the emissions of particles (respirable and inhalable), ozone, and total volatile organic compounds. Among the results of the study, it was found that black-and-white laser printers did not emit toner dust in measurable amounts, and only one of the tested printers emitted low quantities of ozone. Volatile organic compounds (VOC) were emitted in varying amounts, by the lubricating oil in the printers' mechanical parts. Recently, Naoki et al. investigated particle, VOC, and ozone emission from three printers and also found that the particle, VOC, and ozone emission behaviors were printer-type specific.

Read "Particle Emission Characteristics of Office Printers" study

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