Toner powder per se is non-toxic. Therefore, the material is deemed non-hazardous to laser printer users who come in closer contact with it. However in the process of laser printing, as the fuser melts toner at 200 degrees Celsius, fumes and gases are emitted. Experts claim that the inhalation of these gases can cause minor inconvenience to the person operating the laser printer. Therefore it is in the best interest of all users for laser printers to be located in an area where gases and fumes can be contained.
Not So Hard Hacts
No clear reference to any health problem has so far been linked to the inhalation of compound gases (styrene, xylenes, and ozone) produced in the process of laser printing. Scientists who undertook the study concluded the following:
- That the ultra fine particles examined are similar in size to particles found in cigarette smoke;
- Hewlett Packard, manufacturer of HP 1200 laser printer, mentioned in a parallel study that there is no clear evidence linking printer emissions to health hazards;
- That the emitted particles (styrene, xylenes, ozone according to a study commissioned in Japan) are not in a way related to toner;
- That the same particulate emissions can also be produced by household appliances such as the bread toaster for instance;
- That exposure to a lot of contaminants in indoor air may not be good, but the effect is often quantified to exposure amount, duration, and toxicity of the emitted particles.
- That inhalation of these fine particles could result to respiratory irritation to severe illnesses like cardiovascular problems.
It is rather difficult to conclude that particulates coming from the laser printer pose a major health risk because plastic dust, with pigments from carbon black (toner substances), is similar to diesel exhaust.
Ideal Location for Laser Printer
The area intended for the laser printer must be thoroughly thought of and planned as this could affect the physical movement of personnel in the office.
- The laser printer must be placed in a large and thoroughly lighted area where there is good airflow.
- The laser printer must not be exposed to direct sunlight as this could increase operating temperature and eventually produce damage to the printer.
- Direct sunlight could penetrate the innards of the printer and affect the output quality of printout. Do the same for toner cartridges like the HP C7115A as light could affect the integrity of photosensitive toner powder.
- Position the laser printer away from large photocopiers and heaters as static electricity from these equipment could cause print quality problems.