Some office printers emit dangerous particles

A new study suggests that some printers emit dangerous particles that could make office workers sick.

Researchers at Queensland University of Technology in Australia found that 17 of the 62 printers they tested were "high particle emitters" that posed a threat to humans. They say 37 of the printers didn't emit any particles, but one gave off particles at the same rate as a burning cigarette.

"These printer particles are tiny like cigarette smoke particles and, when deep inside the lung, they do the same amount of damage. The health effects from inhaling ultra-fine particles depend on particle composition, but the results can range from respiratory irritation to more severe illness such as cardiovascular problems or cancer," Professor Lidia Morawska, the study's author, tells The Age.

Her research showed that particle levels were five times higher during working hours because of the emissions from printers. She says the printers were more likely to emit dangerous particles when the toner cartridge was new or the machines was being used to print detailed images.

"Printers should operate in environments where there is as much ventilation as possible and as far as possible from where people's desks are located." she tells tells Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC Science has an extensive report on the findings.

Source : USA Today

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