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Study: Laser Printers Could be Health Hazards
Madison.com ^ | August 2, 2007 | Anit Weier

Posted on 08/02/2007 2:24:44 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin

Your office laser printer may be hazardous to your health.

That's because some printers emit large quantities of very fine particles that can be breathed into the lungs, according to a study by Australian researchers at the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health at the Queensland University of Technology.

"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, one of the researchers, said in a news release from the university.

The researchers found that particulate matter levels were higher during the work day inside an air-conditioned nonsmoking office building in Brisbane than outside near a roadway. They soon zeroed in on laser printers as culprits, and tested 62 throughout the six-story building over a 48-hour period.

Forty percent of the printers tested emitted tiny particles, and 27 percent of those were high-emitters. A follow-up test of some printers found that particle emissions started as soon as a printer started operating.

Particle emissions varied depending on the type of printer and age of the printer and cartridge, but the highest printer particle emitting rate was close to that of a prior test of cigarette smoking in a residential home, the study said.

Robert Hamers, UW-Madison chemistry department chairman, who is associate director of the UW's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, said the study is important.

"Laser printers can be a significant source of particle emissions and could potentially be a health risk," he said, but added that comparing printer emissions to cigarette smoke was not valid because the particles are made up of entirely different things.

"This study does not show in any convincing way that it is comparable to cigarette smoke. This study is based on the number of particles, but the kinds of particles are quite different," Hamers said. "Cigarette smoke contains polyaromatic hydrocarbons and cyanide and other materials. Emissions from printers are more like soot."

Carbon emissions can be hazardous, however. Chimney sweeps used to get testicular cancer, and coal miners get black lung disease, Hamers said.

"This is certainly something that we need to do more investigation on," he added. "It is an important issue because there is a lot of evidence that particles in the air contribute to asthma and other health effects. But a lot of health effects can be dependent on the chemical composition of the particles."

Environmental testing for air quality focuses on particles that are about one-fiftieth the diameter of a human hair or less.

The nearest printer was about 13 feet from the testing device, which was a condensation particle counter.

Printers, not photocopiers, were the main source of particles.

Of 42 printer models tested, 34 were manufactured by Hewlett-Packard, so that company's printers made up almost all of the high-emission printers. According to the study, high-emission laser printers were: HP Color LaserJet 4650dn, HP Color LaserJet 5550dtn, HP Color LaserJet 8550N, HP LaserJet 1320N, HP LaserJet 1320n, HP LaserJet 2420dn, HP LaserJet 4200dtn, HP LaserJet 4250n, HP LaserJet 5(a), HP LaserJet 8000N, HP LaserJet 8150N and Toshiba Studio 450.

Hewlett-Packard could not be reached for comment prior to deadline, but a company spokeswoman told the San Francisco Chronicle that HP has been working with scientists to study emissions, but hasn't been able to determine the chemical composition of emissions or their source in the printing system.

"HP believes that all laser printers emit nanoparticles to one degree or another," Emily Horn told the Chronicle.

Hamers noted that the study did not answer whether the printer or the toner cartridge was the source of the emissions.

"Sometimes you can get high-capacity toner cartridges or low-capacity cartridges for the same printer. It was not clear if emission differences were due to printer design or the cartridge itself. This study raises more questions than it solves, but that is the mark of a good study. You have to follow it up," Hamers said.

The researchers reporting the study were Morawska, Congrong He and Len Taplin. The study was financed by the Queensland Department of Public Works. Morawska said the study highlighted a need for governments to regulate particle emissions from laser printers. "Governments regulate emissions levels from outdoor devices such as vehicles, power stations and factories, so why not for printers?" she asked.

She suggested that people place printers in well-ventilated areas of offices and homes to allow airborne particles to disperse.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: health; science
Ha-Ha. Non-smokers are gonna die, too! *SMIRK* (I don't smoke, but I stand shoulder to shoulder with the smokers in regard to their personal property rights!)
1 posted on 08/02/2007 2:24:47 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
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To: Gabz

Aussie Nanny State Ping-Worthy?


2 posted on 08/02/2007 2:25:15 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

We had an old printer that used to reek of burning toner each time it printer. I dealt with that smell for a over 2 years until we finally replaced it. After reading this article, I asked my boss if I could claim workmans’ comp for this... he laughed at me. =(


3 posted on 08/02/2007 2:27:36 PM PDT by Marko413
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

And mother’s milk may contain cancer cells.


4 posted on 08/02/2007 2:28:14 PM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Rush Limbaugh has warned laser printers could be the SUVs of office equipment.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

5 posted on 08/02/2007 2:28:54 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

The Copy Machines must be the SUV of the office?........


6 posted on 08/02/2007 2:29:10 PM PDT by Red Badger (No wonder Mexico is so filthy. Everybody who does cleaning jobs is HERE!.......)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Was this article written by the Ink Jet Industry Association? Be sure to pay $3 to print a single page so that you don't get deadly particles in your lungs from the cheaper laser printer.
7 posted on 08/02/2007 2:30:01 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (May the heirs of Charles Martel and Jan Sobieski rise up again to defend Europe.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

*Sigh* You know, in the end, EVERYBODY dies. Safety is important, but we’ve reached a point where people need to stop worrying about any small thing that could kill them and just start enjoying life.


8 posted on 08/02/2007 2:31:45 PM PDT by The Blitherer (What would a Free Man do?)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

laserprintophobia


9 posted on 08/02/2007 2:32:22 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

laserprintophobia


10 posted on 08/02/2007 2:32:31 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

The sun causes cancer too!


11 posted on 08/02/2007 2:33:18 PM PDT by Red6 (Come and take it.)
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To: Right Wing Assault

Looks as if my HP1320 is sending out multiple posts.


12 posted on 08/02/2007 2:33:37 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Heck, I drink milk, eat meat, love my beer and ice cream on occasion. I don’t need to worry about the laser printer sitting right next to my desk because I will die.... eventually, no matter what I do.


13 posted on 08/02/2007 2:34:10 PM PDT by caisson71
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To: All

Alternative Headline:

“Photocopying Your @ss Could be Hazardous to Your Career.”

LOL! :)


14 posted on 08/02/2007 2:35:45 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: caisson71

Carry on! :)


15 posted on 08/02/2007 2:37:05 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I use only soy ink in my laser printers.

And I grind the soy beans fresh every morning!


16 posted on 08/02/2007 2:42:36 PM PDT by Larry Lucido (Hunter 2008)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Especially when used to print love letters......


17 posted on 08/02/2007 2:45:18 PM PDT by Ben Mugged (Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin; Just another Joe; CSM; lockjaw02; Publius6961; elkfersupper; nopardons; ...

This is Nanny State Ping worthy just because “we told you so.”


18 posted on 08/02/2007 2:50:41 PM PDT by Gabz (Don't tell my mom I'm a lobbyist, she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Aussie Nanny State Ping-Worthy?

It doesn't mean that we're getting rid of laser printers, it just means that there could be an unseen problem to acknowledge. I can see somebody fixing this with an airflow system and filter, but nobody's going to invent one until somebody figures out that there's a possible problem. It would take just a relative few dollars of technology, and you wouldn't have to do it on "home" machines that print relatively few pages. In an office environment where there are thousands of pages being printed each hour, the cost per page would be quite small.

19 posted on 08/02/2007 2:52:07 PM PDT by hunter112 (Change will happen when very good men are forced to do very bad things.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

As Algore would sing: “Oh, what a terrible world”.


20 posted on 08/02/2007 2:58:38 PM PDT by Mark (REMEMBER: Mean spirited, angry remarks against my postings won't feed even one hungry child.)
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To: hunter112

“...but nobody’s going to invent one until somebody figures out that there’s a possible problem.”

You mean as in all those millions of dollars that are flowing into Algore’s coffers because Global Warming “might present a possible problem?” ;)

Keep an eye on this. The more your Government regulates you, especially “for your own good” the less free you will be.


21 posted on 08/02/2007 2:59:45 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Mark

See Post 21. Great Minds, LOL! :)


22 posted on 08/02/2007 3:00:22 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
"we all will probably die with something sooner or later." J.Elders
23 posted on 08/02/2007 3:03:23 PM PDT by steveo (Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.)
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To: Gabz
Yep, we need the “oh geez” guy on this one!
24 posted on 08/02/2007 3:24:55 PM PDT by SoftballMominVA (Never argue with an idiot. He will bring you down to his level and beat you with experience)
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To: Gabz
the study highlighted a need for governments to
regulate particle emissions from laser printers.

"Governments regulate emissions levels from outdoor
devices such as vehicles, power stations and factories,
so why not for printers?" she asked.


good grief!
25 posted on 08/02/2007 3:27:26 PM PDT by leda (19yrs ... only 4,981yrs to go ;))
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Getting out of bed could be hazardous to your health-—not getting out of bed could be hazardous to your health as well..........


26 posted on 08/02/2007 3:32:26 PM PDT by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys--Reagan and Bush)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

We are all gonna die from somethin (to quote Joselyn Elders) and remember, every second you live, you are a second closer to death.


27 posted on 08/02/2007 3:34:01 PM PDT by Doomonyou (Let them eat lead.)
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To: SoftballMominVA
You mean this guy?


28 posted on 08/02/2007 3:50:45 PM PDT by Gabz (Don't tell my mom I'm a lobbyist, she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse)
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To: leda
good grief!

Perfect phrase.

29 posted on 08/02/2007 3:52:02 PM PDT by Gabz (Don't tell my mom I'm a lobbyist, she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin; Gabz

thanks, bfl


30 posted on 08/02/2007 4:10:31 PM PDT by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I’m done for then—I had a HP laser printer by my computer for a whole lotta years at the office. I still own that one. Gotta die of something, I guess. Gloom and doom...


31 posted on 08/02/2007 4:15:08 PM PDT by Marysecretary (GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.)
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To: yldstrk

Living is hazardous to your health—heh heh, if you’re doing it right.


32 posted on 08/02/2007 4:17:00 PM PDT by Marysecretary (GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

I’ve been trying to set my Laser Printer to “Kill.”

It’s stuck on the “Stune” setting.

:-(


33 posted on 08/02/2007 4:19:04 PM PDT by Grizzled Bear ("Does not play well with others.")
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To: Marysecretary

“Gotta die of something, I guess.”

I wanna die in the arms of my ‘Cabana Boy’ of natural causes when I’m about 95 or so. ;)


34 posted on 08/02/2007 4:19:54 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
STOP GLOBAL PRINTING!!!

If Al Gore hadn't invented the internet we wouldn't be using all these computers right now!

35 posted on 08/02/2007 4:22:24 PM PDT by missnry (The truth will set you free ... and drive liberals Crazy!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

LIFE is a health hazard!


36 posted on 08/02/2007 4:25:59 PM PDT by Beckwith (dhimmicrats and the liberal media have chosen sides -- Islamofascism)
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To: Grizzled Bear

“I’ve been trying to set my Laser Printer to ‘Kill.’ It’s stuck on the ‘Stune’ setting.”

LOL!


37 posted on 08/02/2007 5:25:52 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

That’s what I used to say, only Cabana Boy meant my 25 year old lover. Ain’t ever gonna happen but it was fun to think about it waaayyyy back then.


38 posted on 08/02/2007 5:33:58 PM PDT by Marysecretary (GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Wilco.


39 posted on 08/02/2007 5:46:46 PM PDT by caisson71
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Oh for crying out loud. I thought the title was “laser pointer could be health hazard”

I was reading very enthusiastically when I got to the part about laser pointers emitting very fine particles. I was fascinated about what those particles could be.

DOH!


40 posted on 08/02/2007 5:49:48 PM PDT by mamelukesabre
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
Well, this sucks. I just bought two shiny, new HP LaserJets yesterday.

Oh well.

41 posted on 08/02/2007 5:54:39 PM PDT by rabscuttle385 (Sic Semper Tyrannis * U.Va. Engineering '09 * Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Democrat * Fred in 2008)
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To: Gabz

This is funny, what’s next? Only the idiot fringe can predict.


42 posted on 08/02/2007 6:31:14 PM PDT by bfree (liberalism is the enemy of freedom!!!)
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To: Gabz

Thanks for the ping!


43 posted on 08/02/2007 9:25:47 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Gabz; Diana in Wisconsin
Just another day at the office.


44 posted on 08/03/2007 5:20:59 AM PDT by Madame Dufarge
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
You mean as in all those millions of dollars that are flowing into Algore’s coffers because Global Warming “might present a possible problem?” ;)

Good point. But solving particle problems from laser printers is way easier to fix, cheaply, than Gore's social-experiment communism for "the common good". There's nothing wrong with having catalytic converters on our cars to deal with the really toxic gasses that poured out of tailpipes of vehicles of fifty years ago. Some problems are identifyable, and fixable, without resorting to socialism to give power to liberals.

45 posted on 08/03/2007 6:22:56 AM PDT by hunter112 (Change will happen when very good men are forced to do very bad things.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
"Governments regulate emissions levels from outdoor devices such as vehicles, power stations and factories, so why not for printers?" she asked.

That's right cupcake, more government regulation will fix the problem. Hell, it fixes everything else.

46 posted on 08/03/2007 6:27:12 AM PDT by unixfox (The 13th Amendment Abolished Slavery, The 16th Amendment Reinstated It !)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Huh. Who woulda thunk it?


47 posted on 08/04/2007 10:28:32 AM PDT by Paul Ross (Ronald Reagan-1987:"We are always willing to be trade partners but never trade patsies.")
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