A search for discomfort-inducing factors in carbonless copying paper

Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1988 Mar;49(3):117-20. doi: 10.1080/15298668891379486.


Connections between various types of carbonless copying paper and the occurrence of work-related symptoms of the skin and mucous membranes were studied. The analysis started from the exposure factor, i.e., from the carbonless copying papers and not from the exposed persons. In total, 276 paper samples were investigated. One hundred ninety samples were carbonless copying papers for which information was obtained concerning both the handling of the papers and the symptoms occurring among those handling the papers. To distinguish between carbonless copying papers of different makes, gas chromatography of paper extracts was performed, sometimes combined with thin-layer chromatography of the color formers. By coding the paper samples, the analyses of the papers and the interviews of the exposed persons could be performed "blindly." In the carbonless copying paper most frequently associated with complaints, mono-iso-propylbiphenyl (MIPB) was used as solvent for the color formers. It is probable, however, that the symptoms connected to this paper were induced by some component of the paper other than MIPB. A covariation between papers associated with skin symptoms and mucous membrane symptoms was observed. Exposure to carbonless copying papers treated with desensitizing ink (D-ink) covariated statistically with work-related skin irritation. The causative factor was probably two specific D-inks available on the Swedish market at the period of the investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Biphenyl Compounds / adverse effects
  • Biphenyl Compounds / analysis
  • Copying Processes*
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Ink*
  • Mucous Membrane / drug effects
  • Paper*
  • United States


  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • 4-isopropylbiphenyl