Huntington Beach, CA, March 23rd, 2021
In the last several years, the popularity of 3D printers has soared. They can be found in countless businesses, research institutes, schools and even private homes. As these printers become ever more commonplace, so too have concerns over respiratory exposures associated with their use.
Airborne chemicals, specifically volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles are emitted when these machines are utilized. Over the last several years there have been a number of studies that have looked into these exposure risks. For example, Georgia Tech Research Horizons published the article, “Research Raises Awareness of Indoor Air Quality Risk from 3D Printers.” In it, the authors shared research conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology about how these printers can adversely impact the quality of indoor air. Researchers focused on ultrafine particles (UFPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced when these types of printers are in use. Over 200 different VOCs were detected that could act as potential respiratory irritants and some that are known or suspected carcinogens. The UFPs are a concern due to their miniscule size which allows them to be inhaled deep into the lungs.
The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) also published the study, “Is 3D Printing Safe?” It revealed that four of the most commonly used filaments for 3D printers emit VOCs even at temperatures below the printing temperature. The popular filaments in question are made with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polylactic acid (PLA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and nylon.
“Exposure risks from 3D printers can be especially concerning when they are used in confined spaces where airborne pollutants can concentrate,” said Joseph Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at LA Testing. “LA Testing offers laboratory services to analyze air samples to help determine if 3D printers are causing indoor air quality issues. They also provide sampling supplies and even carry monitoring instruments to detect airborne particulate matter. If a problem is discovered, increased ventilation or the use of specialized air filtration can be put in place to mitigate exposure risks.”
LA Testing has also sponsored an educational video about 3D printers and potential airborne exposure concerns that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/4oTy8KUbAeY.
To learn more about this or other IAQ testing services, sampling supplies and monitoring instruments, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: : AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego and Ontario.