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.

12-month embargo period (PDF 677kB)
Accepted Version.

View at publisher


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:

27 citations in Scopus
24 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

183 since deposited on 24 Jul 2011
12 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 43486
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
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: 24 Jul 2011 22:23
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2017 20:58

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page