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J Environ Monit. 2012 Feb;14(2):446-54. doi: 10.1039/c2em10696e. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

Multiparametric approach for an exemplary study of laser printer emissions.

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Italian Workers' Compensation Authority-Ex National Institute for Occupational Safety and Prevention, INAIL Ex ISPESL, Department of Occupational Hygiene, Chemical Agents Laboratory, Via Fontana Candida, 1 - 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Rome, Italy.


The aim of this work was the study, by a multiparametric approach, of emissions from a laser printer in an experimental box-chamber, with particular attention to nanoparticles release. The experimental design included number concentration measurements by Fast Mobility Particle Sizer (FMPS) and chemical characterizations (elements) of size segregated samples collected by Nanomoudi cascade impactor. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) were also sampled by charcoal sorbent tubes by personal sampling pumps. Monitoring of ozone, total volatile organic compounds concentrations and of temperature and humidity values inside the experimental box during the printing processes were also performed by automatic analyzers. The performed monitoring allowed to evidence different ways for particles emissions by laser printers, in particular showing that nanoparticles, characterised by high concentrations of Ba, Zn, B, K, Sr and Na, are set free at the beginning of the printing process. This emission seems to be directly ascribable to the use of toner powder, as all these elements are present in it. The emission of larger particles (ca. 100-320 nm) was observed in subsequent phases of the print process, probably due to the condensation of vapours released during the progressive heating of the fuser roller. This contribution was proved by both the FMPS measurements and the cascade impactor results. Also, a low emission of particles in higher size ranges was evidenced, mainly due to paper related particles. A very high concentration of VOCs was detected inside the chamber and the chemical speciation shows that the major contribution is associated to toner components, even if some species are released from other printer components. Although the formation of secondary species by reaction of VOCs with ozone cannot be excluded, these species were present inside the chamber at concentrations lower than the detection limit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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