Evaluation of ultrafine particle emissions from laser printers using emission test chambers

Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jun 15;42(12):4338-43. doi: 10.1021/es702426m.


It has now been recognized that some hardcopy devices emit ultrafine particles (d(p) < 100 nm) during their operation. As a consequence, the time-dependent characterization of particle release from laser printers is of high interest in order to evaluate the exposure of office workers to such emissions. The emission profiles of different printers can be compared in test chambers using a standardized test protocol and measuring devices with high time resolution. The extraction of meaningful and comparable data from the obtained data set is a complex procedure due to the different emission behavior patterns of the printers. The calculation of the unit specific emission rate (SERu) is of limited use because the emission profiles during the printing process ranged between short-term bursts and constant particle release. Therefore, other parameters such as the particle loss-rate coefficient, beta, which provides information about the testing conditions, and the area belowthe time vs concentration curve, F, which characterizes the particle release, allow for a comparison of the different printer tests. Variations in the emission behavior could not be associated with specific manufacturers or product lines. In addition, when performing several print jobs on the same device, with only short pauses between jobs, the emission rate was reduced in some cases. This further complicates the ability to determine the influence of printer construction and consumables, such as toner and paper, on the concentration of particles emitted.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computers*
  • Particle Size