Nanoparticles from photocopiers induce oxidative stress and upper respiratory tract inflammation in healthy volunteers

Nanotoxicology. 2013 Aug;7(5):1014-27. doi: 10.3109/17435390.2012.691998. Epub 2012 Jun 14.


Photocopiers emit large quantities of nanoparticles (NPs); however, their toxicological properties have not been studied. Here we investigate for the first time early human responses following a day's exposure to NPs from photocopiers. Nine healthy subjects spent 6 h at a busy photocopy centre on 2-3 randomly selected days. Matched nasal lavage and urine samples were collected before and at different time points post-exposure. Nasal lavage samples were analysed for 14 cytokines, inflammatory cells and total protein. Urine samples were analysed for 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG). Exposure assessment was conducted using a suite of instruments. The mean total particle number on exposure days was >5 times higher than background, with size distributions in nanoscale range (peak 30-40 nm). Following exposure, 8-OH-dG and several pro-inflammatory cytokines were elevated 2-10 folds compared with pre-exposure levels and remained elevated for up to 36 h. We conclude that NPs from photocopiers induce upper airway inflammation and oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Deoxyguanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxyguanosine / urine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis*
  • Male
  • Nanoparticles / poisoning*
  • Nasal Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / metabolism
  • Occupational Diseases / urine
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / urine
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • 8-Hydroxy-2'-Deoxyguanosine
  • Deoxyguanosine