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Study Discusses Harmful Effects of Indoor Desktop 3D Printing

3D Printing Media Network reports on a recent study released by Professor Rodney Weber and his team at Georgia University of Technology.

This multi-year study focused on the impact desktop 3D printing “could have on indoor air quality.” Additionally, this study awarded the RIZE One 3D printer with the first ever UL 2904 GREENGUARD certification, which “addresses 3D printer particle emissions and safety.”

“Ever since the advent of desktop 3D printing technology, the question of safety has been a concern, especially regarding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles (UFPs) in the surrounding air. The study conducted by Georgia University of Technology and UL has arguably been one of the most comprehensive and in depth investigations into the topic.”

This study was published in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology. It shows “there is indeed a health risk associated with the particles emitted into the air by FDM 3D printers. Specifically, particles emitted from 3D printers can have a negative impact on indoor air quality and can harm respiratory health.”

As Rodney Weber, Professor of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech explains: “the team collected particles created by the 3D printing process and conducted various tests to assess the risk and impact of the particles on respiratory cell cultures. All of theses tests, which were done at high doses, showed there is a toxic response to the particles from various types of filaments used by these 3D printers.”

“The new findings build upon the team’s existing research, which found hotter printing temperatures resulted in higher emissions, meaning higher temperature filaments, such as ABS, created more particles than filaments with lower melting temperatures, such as PLA.”

Professor Weber was quick to caution against panic, however. He and his team “have released a handful of measures makers can take to reduce the risk of emissions exposure. They include operating desktop machines in well-ventilated areas, using the lowest nozzle temperatures possible (dependent on the filament), standing away from 3D printers while they are in operation, and using 3D printers which have been tested or verified for low emissions.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of Georgia Tech and 3D Printing Media Network

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