Office printers can damage the lungs, says research


31 July 2007 — Queensland (AUS): New research from the Queensland University of Technology suggests that office printers can damage office workers’ lungs by emitting dangerous levels of toner into the air.

Scientists at the university found that nearly a third of 60 machines tested emitted toner particles so small that they can be ingested into the lungs, causing health problems such as irritation of the respiratory system. New ink cartridges and printing requiring higher amounts of toner, such as the printing of graphics and images, were also found to exacerbate the problem.


The researchers would like to see the printers involved come with a health warning and are lobbying ministers to regulate toner emissions and air quality in office environments. The research also suggests that companies should relocate printers into areas that are well-ventilated so that particles can be more safely dispersed.