Photocopiers emit high levels of nanoparticles (PM0.1). To-date little is known of physicochemical composition of PM0.1 in real workplace settings. Here we perform a comprehensive physicochemical and morphological characterization of PM0.1 and raw materials (toners and paper) at eight commercial photocopy centers that use color and monochrome photocopiers over the course of a full week. We document high PM0.1 exposures with complex composition and several ENM in toners and PM0.1. Daily geometric mean PM0.1 concentrations ranged from 3700 to 34000 particles/cubic-centimeter (particles/cm(3)) (GSD 1.4-3.3), up to 12 times greater than background, with transient peaks >1.4 million particles/cm(3). PM0.1 contained 6-63% organic carbon, <1% elemental carbon, and 2-8% metals, including iron, zinc, titania, chromium, nickel and manganese, typically in the <0.01-1% range, and in agreement with toner composition. These findings document widespread ENM in toner formulations and high nanoparticle exposures are an industry-wide phenomenon. It further calls attention to the need to substantially redesign the interface of this technology with workers and consumers.
Keywords: Copy center; Engineered nanoparticles; NanoEHS; Titanium dioxide; Toner.
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