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Your Printer May Be Polluting Your Home

It has long been know that laser printers emit small-particle air pollution. Australian scientists have now claimed that these printer pollutants can have harmful effects on your health. According to researchers at of the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane whose findings have been published in the journal of the American Chemical Society , printer pollutants can give off the same level of small-particle pollution as a lit cigarette.

The team at Queensland University of Technology looked at over sixty models, including ones manufactured by Canon, HP Color LaserJet, Ricoh and Toshiba. Of these, seventeen emitted high levels of small particles and thirty-seven none at all. Of the ones that emitted printer pollutants, there was a wide range with the models with the highest levels producing more than a thousand times the small particles given off by the lowest.

When buying a machine, it is not easy to avoid those that emit high levels of printer pollutants as there are no obvious common features which they all share. Indeed, printers produced by the same manufacturer but with different model numbers can vary widely in the amount of printer pollutants they give off. How the machine is used can also affect the level of printer pollutants with the condition of the toner cartridge an important factor.

The small particles which make up printer pollutants can be a health hazard according to the researchers at Queensland University as they are inhaled deep into the lungs. While the more printer pollutants that are emitted the higher the risk will be, even at low levels printer pollutants can pose a danger to health.

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So what can you do to avoid the health risks of printer pollutants?

Luckily, there are simple things you can do which should mean that you avoid ‘” or at least minimise ‘” the risks to your health from printer pollutants. You should make sure that the area of your home or office where the printer is situated is well ventilated and you should also avoid sitting too close to it if you can. Ventilation is especially important as it can make the difference between printer pollutants being dispersed within a few minutes or hanging in the air for several hours.