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Exposure to particles from laser printers operating within office workplaces

McGarry, Peter D., Morawska, Lidia, He, Congrong, Jayaratne, Rohan, Falk, Matthew G., Quang, Tran Ngoc, & Wang, Hao (2011) Exposure to particles from laser printers operating within office workplaces. Environmental Science and Technology.

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Abstract

While recent research has provided valuable information as to the composition of laser printer particles, their formation mechanisms, and explained why some printers are emitters whilst others are low emitters, fundamental questions relating to the potential exposure of office workers remained unanswered. In particular, (i) what impact does the operation of laser printers have on the background particle number concentration (PNC) of an office environment over the duration of a typical working day?; (ii) what is the airborne particle exposure to office workers in the vicinity of laser printers; (iii) what influence does the office ventilation have upon the transport and concentration of particles?; (iv) is there a need to control the generation of, and/or transport of particles arising from the operation of laser printers within an office environment?; (v) what instrumentation and methodology is relevant for characterising such particles within an office location? We present experimental evidence on printer temporal and spatial PNC during the operation of 107 laser printers within open plan offices of five buildings. We show for the first time that the eight-hour time-weighted average printer particle exposure is significantly less than the eight-hour time-weighted local background particle exposure, but that peak printer particle exposure can be greater than two orders of magnitude higher than local background particle exposure. The particle size range is predominantly ultrafine (< 100nm diameter). In addition we have established that office workers are constantly exposed to non-printer derived particle concentrations, with up to an order of magnitude difference in such exposure amongst offices, and propose that such exposure be controlled along with exposure to printer derived particles. We also propose, for the first time, that peak particle reference values be calculated for each office area analogous to the criteria used in Australia and elsewhere for evaluating exposure excursion above occupational hazardous chemical exposure standards. A universal peak particle reference value of 2.0 x 104 particles cm-3 has been proposed.

Impact and interest:

15 citations in Scopus
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12 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 43486
Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: ultrafine particles, laser printers, exposure
DOI: 10.1021/es200249n
ISSN: 0013-936X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES (040100) > Atmospheric Sciences not elsewhere classified (040199)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
Copyright Statement: This article is freely available from the American Chemical Society website 12 months after the publication date. See links to publisher website in this record
Deposited On: 25 Jul 2011 08:23
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2013 06:58

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