Laser printers have always been the first choice for mid-sized and large businesses, but as their prices are declining they are becoming more popular among home users and small businesses. However, some recent studies have raised concerns about the bad effects of using a laser printer on human health. This has led to a new wave of debate among printer buyers and this time it’s not about price and performance, but health and safety.
Yes, laser printers are harmful for our heath if we are sitting just next to the printer or if you are not taking precautions to refill its toner cartridge. It can affect our skin, eyes and lungs mainly. You can avoid its effect by applying the following precautions.
Therefore, in this article, we have decided to give you all the relevant and genuine information regarding the health hazards you might encounter due to emissions from a laser printer. Read this article carefully because the information given below will help you in clearing all the doubts related to the harmful effects of laser printer on human health.
Before getting into the findings of the studies done on laser printer emissions we should first understand what the emissions are which seem to be the cause of this concern. We all know that laser printer uses toner filled cartridges for printing, this toner is made up of tiny particles. These particles are as small as nano-particles, which means your eyes won’t be able to spot them if you see them separately. We also know that printer toner is hard to remove once it stains your clothes or sticks to your hands. After all this is the purpose of the printer toner, to stay permanently on the surface it’s applied upon.
What is Laser printer and how it works?
Laser printers use laser technologies to print pictures or documents. Laser printers use toner powder to print on the paper through laser on the paper. The Laser printers are mostly used in schools, corporate, and other environments which require print tasks to be performed fast and in massive amounts. See a laser printer example in the below given image, you’ll notice that it is generally bigger than an inkjet printer (home uses printers).
What is harmful in laser printers?
Yes, you are guessing right, the toner is the only harmful thing in printer, because its particulars might be mixed in the environment. Particles in laser printer toner are also carcinogenic, much like asbestos.
As we know laser printers use toners and Toner is a mix powder which is used in laser printers and photocopiers to print toner on paper by using laser. That’s why it’s called laser printer toner powder.
It is a mixture of carbon, iron oxide, polypropylene fumed silica and triboelectrification. The toner power is melded by the printer’s fuser and printed by laser raise.
Here is the picture of the toner:
How Toner Powder harmful for our health?
Beyond the immediate issues of skin allergies or irritation, some users may be worried about the major negative effects of laser toner to create chronic problems such as cancer, Asthma (respiratory problems). Can refillable printer toners possess comparable consequences to smoking and also place individuals at risk of lung cancer. That’s why laser printers are harmful for health. Please read some case studies on that.
Study 1: Now, the study conducted by the West Virginia University suggests that this printer toner can have harmful effects on human health. The findings of this study claim that while printing some of these nano-sized toner particles tend to get loose in the air. Then in the absence of proper ventilation these particles may spread in the room and can enter the lungs of the people nearby through their breath. After entering their body, these particles can disrupt how cells make protein. Eventually, it can disturb the activity of genes related to the immune response, metabolism and other biological processes.
Study 2: In another study done by the Queensland University of Technology, Australia it was found that when the paper and printer toner pass over the hot printer roller some volatile organic compounds are emitted into the air. After reacting with the ozone in the air these compounds condense into ultra-fine particles. Researchers also found that when the printer temperature was higher, then more particles were produced. Therefore, the amount of particles produced were different for each printer model. Research shows that the effect of these particles on human lungs is the same as that of smoking a cigarette.
Both the studies discussed above have been conducted by reputed universities and they reveal some serious health hazards that laser printer users may encounter on prolonged exposure to these machines. Does this mean you should drop the idea of buying a new laser printer or start thinking of disposing off the one you presently own? Absolutely not! The news is not all bad, the same studies suggest some precautions that you must take which can greatly reduce the harmful effects of using a laser printers.
Take precautions to reduce laser printer effects
Experts suggest that some caution must be taken while operating a laser printer. The primary objective of these precautions is to reduce the exposure to these nano-particles emitted by the laser printers.
Keep your laser printer in a location that has good ventilation with the air from outside. If there are multiple laser printers in an office, then the laser printer that is used more frequently should be kept in the area where there is better ventilation. Doing this will ensure that the emitted particles will get disposed the moment they are created.
Avoid standing near the laser printer when it’s printing. Users suffering from diseases like asthma or other heart or lung ailments should never sit near busy laser printers.
If you were bothered by the question that is a laser printer harmful for your health, then this article must have helped you. You can clearly see that although laser printers emit particles which are harmful for human health, but you can easily avoid their negative effects by taking some simple precautions.
Question: Which models of Laser printers are the most dangerous to your health?
Answer: It would be difficult to provide a specific answer to your question because it is a matter of research that we have not done yet. But I can elaborate: If a printer's heater is not heating up properly then there is a high possibility of harming your lungs. There is almost NO risk to your health once the printer's heater has reached the proper temperature. So, turn on your printer, let it heat up properly, and then give print or copy command. This is based on my logic of blowing laser powder if it does heat up properly. It may vary but it was my logic.