Measurements of chlorinated volatile organic compounds emitted from office printers and photocopiers

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Apr;22(7):5241-52. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3672-3. Epub 2014 Oct 18.


Office devices can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) partly generated by toners and inks, as well as particles of paper. The aim of the presented study is to identify indoor emissions of volatile halogenated organic compounds into the office workspace environment. Mixtures of organic pollutants emitted by seven office devices, i.e. printers and copiers, were analyzed by taking samples in laboratory conditions during the operation of these appliances. Tests of volatile organic compound emissions from selected office devices were conducted in a simulated environment (test chamber). Samples of VOCs were collected using three-layered thermal desorption tubes. Separation and identification of organic pollutant emissions were made using thermal desorption combined with gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Test chamber studies indicated that operation of the office printer and copier would contribute to the significant concentration level of VOCs in typical office indoor air. Among the determined volatile halogenated compounds, only chlorinated organic compounds were identified, inter alia: trichloroethylene - carcinogenic - and tetrachloroethylene - possibly carcinogenic to human. The results show that daily exposure of an office worker to chemical factors released by the tested printing and copying units can be variable in terms of concentrations of VOCs. The highest emissions in the test chamber during printing were measured for ethylbenzene up to 41.3 μg m(-3), xylenes up to 40.5 μg m(-3) and in case of halogenated compounds the highest concentration for chlorobenzene was 6.48 μg m(-3). The study included the comparison of chamber concentrations and unit-specific emission rates of selected VOCs and the identified halogenated compounds. The highest amount of total VOCs was emitted while copying with device D and was rated above 1235 μg m(-3) and 8400 μg unit(-1) h(-1) on average.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Occupational Health*
  • Printing / instrumentation*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Volatile Organic Compounds