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Laser printers

Laser Printers Emit Toxic Micro Dust

Monday, April 06, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: laser printers, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) A new study from researchers at the Queensland Institute of Technology has shed some light on exactly what factors lead laser printers to emit toxic particles into the air, making them the single most polluting piece of equipment in the typical office.

The same research team that initially showed the threat from laser printers conducted a study comparing two different printer models, the HP 2200 and the HP 1320n. They found that the dangerous particulates emitted by printers are apparently produced by an interaction between volatile organic compounds, ozone and heat.

Individual components of each printer, such as fuser rollers and toner, were heated separately in furnaces so that researchers could observe how they emitted particulates or VOCs in response to heat. They found that each component had a given threshhold under which emissions were nearly nil, a higher threshhold at which only VOCs were emitted, and yet another at which both VOCs and particulates were produced. This threshhold ranged between 100 and 200 degrees Celsius (for a used roller and for lubricating oil, respectively).

The researchers also operated the printers in different settings to measure either the nature of particles emitted or to measure how long the particles persisted. They determined that the HP 1320n emitted roughly 100,000 percent more particulate than the HP 2200, largely due to a different pattern of particulate release. While the HP 2200 reached peak particulate emissions within only a minute, the rate of emission dropped drastically after that. In contrast, the HP 1320n also reached maximum emissions in less than a minute, but that peak was much higher than the 2200s and emissions essentially remained elevated until the end of the print job.

Toner or paper type had only limited effect on VOC or particulate emissions, leading the researchers to conclude that printer design -- namely the level of temperature control -- is the biggest predictor of emissions levels.

Sources for this story include: arsechnica.com.

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