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Laser Printer Particle Emissions Print
Thursday, 02 August 2007 08:27

Laser Printer Paper PathA study that will appear in Environmental Science & Technology has spurred news headlines of the dangers of particle emissions from office laser printers. Congroug He, Lidia Morawska, and Len Taplin set out to explore the relationship between office and outdoor air in terms of fine-scale particulates, the sort that tends to penetrate deep into the lungs. Must to their dismay, there wasn’t any relationship. They did discover that particulates in the office were lower during off hours but rapidly increased 500% while the office was occupied. After eliminating the microwave and photocopier they ultimately fingered the office laser printer as the culprit. The discovery led them to test the 62 laser printers available to them and rank them into four category based on particle emissions. I noticed the age of the toner had an influence on both amounts of particulates produced and their average size. Page coverage played an important role as well, as the jump between a print that covered five percent of a page to one that covered fifty percent roughly doubled emissions. In laymen’s terms, it’s much worse if you print graphics.

I personally use Okidata laser printers. As they were not listed in the report, I phoned to see if they had anything to say. They seemed aware of the report, as I believe the lady I was speaking with was been coached what to say. I was told I could examine the safety card that came with my printer.

Perhaps this study will prompt manufactures to start testing there printers and labeling the emission level. I’ve included the table from the paper below.


Table 1. Summary of Results for Printer Emission Investigations, Based on the Ratio of Submicrometer Particle Number Concentration Peak Value Emitted by the Printer to the Background Value (measured by P-Trak)

non-emitter (ratio 1)

low level emitter (ratio < 1.1-5)

middle level emitter (ratio < 5.1-10)

high level emitter (ratio > 10)

HP Color LaserJet 4550DN (1)

Canon IRC6800 (1)

HP LaserJet 1020 (1)

HP Color LaserJet 4650dn (1)

HP Color LaserJet 8500DN (1)

HP LaserJet 5M (3)

HP LaserJet 4200dtn (1)

HP Color LaserJet 5550dtn (1)

HP LaserJet 2200DN (1)

HP LaserJet


HP Color LaserJet 8550N

HP LaserJet 2300dtn (1)

9000dn (1)


(1)

HP LaserJet 4 plus (1)

RICOH


HP LaserJet 1320N (1)

HP LaserJet 4000N (1)

CL3000DN (1)


HP LaserJet 1320n (1)

HP LaserJet 4000TN (1)



HP LaserJet 2420dn (1)

HP LaserJet 4050N (2)



HP LaserJet 4200dtna (1)

HP LaserJet 4050TN (6)



HP LaserJet 4250n (old)

HP LaserJet 4si (1)



(1)

HP LaserJet 5(b) (1)



HP LaserJet 4250n (new)

HP LaserJet 5000n (1)



(1)

HP LaserJet 5100tn (2)



HP LaserJet 5(a) (1)

HP LaserJet 5N (2)



HP LaserJet 8000DNa (1)

HP LaserJet 5si (1)



HP LaserJet 8150N (1)

HP LaserJet 5si/NX (1)



TOSHIBA Studio 450 (1)

HP LaserJet 8000DN (2)




HP LaserJet 8150DN (3)




Mita DC 4060 (photo copy) (1)




RICOH Aficio 2022 (1)




RICOH Aficio 3045 (1)




RICOH Aficio 3245C (3)




RICOH Aficio CC3000DN (1)




TOSHIBA Studio 350 (1)




a Possible high emitter.


Table 2. Summary of the Estimated Particle Emission Rates from Chamber Tests for Three Different Printers (Particle Numbers Concentration Measured by the Condensation Particle Counter 3025A, PM2.5 Measured by DustTrak)




emission rate (particle min-1 × 109)

PM2.5 emission rate (g min-1)

printer IDa

cartridge

toner coverage

testing number

average

S.D.

average

S.D.

A

new

5%

3

0.04

0.01

0.29

0.07

B

old

5%

2

4.21

3.66

NEb


B

old

50%

2

9.54

8.23



C

old

5%

3

41.1

12.0

NEb


C

old

50%

2

92.8

0.99



C

new

5%

2

76.3

18.8



C

new

50%

1

159




a Printer ID: A = HP LaserJet 5M, B = HP LaserJet 1020, C = HP LaserJet 1320n.b NE: no emission rate.

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