Particle emission characteristics of office printers

Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Sep 1;41(17):6039-45. doi: 10.1021/es063049z.


In modern society, printers are widely used in the office environment. This study investigated particle number and PM2.5 emissions from printers using the TSI SMPS, TSI CPC 3022, and 3025A TSI P-Trak and DustTrak. The monitoring of particle characteristics in a large open-plan office showed that particles generated by printers can significantly (p = 0.01) affect the submicrometer particle number concentration levels in the office. An investigation of the submicrometer particle emissions produced by each of the 62 printers used in the office building was also conducted and based on the particle concentrations in the immediate vicinity of the printers, after a short printing job, the printers were divided into four classes: non-emitters, and low, medium, and high emitters. It was found that approximately 60% of the investigated printers did not emit submicrometer particles and of the 40% that did emit particles, 27% were high particle emitters. Particle emission characteristics from three different laser printers were also studied in an experimental chamber, which showed that particle emission rates are printer-type specific and are affected by toner coverage and cartridge age. While a more comprehensive study is still required, to provide a better database of printer emission rates, as well as their chemical characteristics, the results from this study imply that submicrometer particle concentration levels in an office can be reduced by a proper choice of the printers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Algorithms
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Particle Size
  • Printing / instrumentation*
  • Time Factors
  • Ventilation


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational