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Common 3D Printers: Potential Desktop Danger?

We are constantly staying on top of the latest news and topics related to air quality and pollutants. That’s why a recent study performed by the Built Environment Research Group at the Illinois Institute of Technology caught our attention.

According to the study, popular commercial desktop 3D printers cause substantial amounts of potentially-harmful emissions. These emissions, in the form of nanosized particles, are released at rates similar to that of anything ranging from gas and electric stoves to cigarettes and operating laser printers.Objet_Eden_350_3d_printer

According to an article on the study, 3D printers “are now widely accessible for rapid prototyping and small-scale manufacturing in home and office settings. Many desktop 3D printers rely on a process where a thermoplastic feedstock is heated, extruded through a small nozzle, and deposited onto a surface to build 3D objects. Similar processes have been shown to have significant aerosol emissions in other studies using a range of plastic feedstocks, but mostly in industrial environments.”

The study concluded that these commonly used printers deliver high levels of ultrafine particles (UFPs), which are known to deposit themselves in the lungs and the head airways, and are associated with negative health effects ranging from asthma to strokes.

As stated in the aforementioned article, “because most of these devices are currently sold as standalone devices without any exhaust ventilation or filtration accessories, the researchers suggest caution should be used when operating in inadequately ventilated or unfiltered indoor environments.”

The Built Environment Group is a renowned research group with a great expertise in indoor air pollution, and therefore, their findings and suggestions should not be taken lightly. This research is yet another example of why proper fume and pollutant extraction is so important.

Fumex, Inc. manufactures Fume Extraction Systems designed for 3D Printer fumes.  Feel free to Contact us with any questions.