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Laser Printer Safety

Friday, December 14th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Printing Help
 
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Q:
I saw something the other day about laser printers being bad for your health. Is there any truth in that? If so, please explain!

A:
I’m glad you asked! I actually received a phone call a couple days ago from another reader asking about laser printer safety. Their inquiry was more about the safety of leaving a laser printer turned on all the time, but when I received today’s question in my e-mail, I thought I could tie them together. And once I started to research both parts, I found a lot of interesting information and as it turns out, the two fit together perfectly. Let’s check it out!

These days, laser printers are becoming more and more popular by the minute. And why not? They are very fast, they give you top quality work, they’re quiet and the toner cartridges they use last through thousands of print jobs. They just bring a little something new to the table and everyone has fallen in love with them. Well, after the hype for laser printers dies down a bit, there is another issue that needs to be addressed: a health concern. Some studies were done that gave the impression that laser printers could affect your health. Is it true? Is it ridiculous to think such a thing? Well, some say yes and some say no, but let’s take a look at the facts and then you can decide for yourself!

For starters, some studies show that laser printers emit large amounts of particulate matter into the air while a printing job is in progress. Even more, if that matter is breathed in, it could be harmful to you. So, where does that matter come from? Well, it comes from toner, which is what laser printers use as ink. Other studies have said that the particles released into the air are very similar to cigarette smoke and motor vehicle emissions. With that in mind, it’s possible the matter could get deep into your lungs and eventually, your bloodstream. Yikes!

Now, I know all of that may sound pretty scary, but don’t throw your laser printer out just yet. All this situation needs is a little common sense! First of all, where you put your printer is very important. If possible, put it in a room that’s not used all the time by you or your family. Maybe you have an extra room you can use to set up your computer and printer. You know, a room that’s not always being used, such as a den or study. If that’s not feasible, try to place your laser printer by a window. That way, when you’re printing out your projects, the fumes can go right out the window and not into the rest of your home.

Also, if you’re printing a lengthy document or something that will take awhile, don’t sit and wait for it to get done. Open a window and move to another room in your house. It’s just a little something more you can do to protect your health. One more thing you can do is turn off your laser printer when you’re finished using it. If you leave it on, all kinds of things could be transmitted into the air and that’s just not necessary! A simple push of the Off button will keep your air much cleaner.

I know some of you may think all of this information is bogus, but my favorite saying is “it’s better to be safe than sorry” and I think that fits in quite well with this. Like I said before, if you use a little common sense when using your laser printer, you will be just fine. This isn’t something you need to panic about, but it’s good to know there are a few things you can do to keep yourself extra safe. Put them into action today!

~ Erin

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