UL Chemical Safety and the Georgia Institute of Technology recently explored the impact of 3D printing on indoor air quality.
Following an in-depth, two-year research period, the researchers found that many desktop 3D printers generate ultrafine particles (UFPs) while in operation. UFPs may pose a health concern since they are the size of nanoparticles and may be inhaled and penetrate deep into the human pulmonary system.
The research also revealed that more than 200 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), many of which are known or suspected irritants and carcinogens, are also released while 3D printers are in operation.
Many factors, including nozzle temperature, filament type, filament and printer brand, and filament color, affect emissions while extrusion temperature, filament material and filament brand were found to have the greatest impact on emission levels.
The potential risks can be lessened by:
–Operating 3D printers only in well-ventilated areas
–Setting the nozzle temperature at the lower end of the suggested temperature range for filament materials
–Standing away from operating machines
–Using machines and filaments that have been tested and verified to have low emissions.
Based on the scientific research conducted with Georgia Tech and further collaboration with third-party stakeholders, a UL/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) consensus standard for testing and evaluating 3D printer emissions has been developed–UL/ANSI 2904.