Particle emission characteristics of office printers

He, Congrong, Morawska, Lidia, & Taplin, Len (2007) Particle emission characteristics of office printers. Environmental Science and Technology, 41, pp. 6039-6045.

View at publisher (open access)


In modern society, printers are widely used in the office environment. This study investigated particle number and PM2.5 emissions from printers using the TSI SMPS, TSI CPC 3022 and 3025A TSI P-Trak and DustTrak. The monitoring of particle characteristics in a large open plan office, conducted continuously for over 48 hours, showed that particles generated by printers can significantly (p = 0.01) affect the submicrometer particle number concentration levels in the office. An investigation of the submicrometer particle emissions produced by each of the 62 printers used in the office building was also conducted. In terms of emission levels, the printers were divided into four classes of non-emitters, low, medium and high emitters, based on the particle concentrations in the immediate vicinity of the printers, after a short printing job. It was found that about 60% of the investigated printers did not emit submicrometer particles and of the 40% that did emit particles, 27% were high particle emitters. Particle emission characteristics from three different laser printers were also studied in an experimental chamber, which showed that particle emission rates are printer type–specific and are affected by toner coverage and cartridge age. The average particle number emission rates from a printer in the class “low emitter‿ were 0.04×109 particle min-1 (new cartridge with 5% toner coverage); 4.21×109 particle min-1 and 9.54×109 particle min-1 for a “medium emitter‿ (old cartridge with 5% and 50% toner coverage, respectively); and 41.1×109 particle min-1 (old cartridge, 5% toner coverage), 92.8×109 particle min-1 (old cartridge, 50% toner coverage), 76.3×109 particle min-1 (new cartridge, 5% toner coverage) and 159×109 particle min-1 (new cartridge, 50% toner coverage) for a “high emitter‿. Particle size distributions indicated that the higher emitters tended to generate more ultrafine particles (< 0.1 µm) than the lower emitters whilst the trend in PM2.5 emissions was different, with the “low emitter‿ in having a PM2.5 emission rate of (0.29 ±0.07 µg min-1) and the “high emitter‿ showing nearly zero mass emissions. While a more comprehensive study is still required to provide a better database of printer emission rates, as well as their chemical characteristics, the results from this study imply that submicrometer particle concentration levels in an office can be reduced by a proper choice of the printers.

Impact and interest:

142 citations in Scopus
116 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:

262 since deposited on 31 Jul 2007
81 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: 8824
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: printer emissions, indoor air quality, particle source, particle number concentration, submicrometer particle, PM2, 5
ISSN: 0013-936X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHYSICAL SCIENCES (020000) > OTHER PHYSICAL SCIENCES (029900) > Physical Sciences not elsewhere classified (029999)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 American Chemical Society
Deposited On: 31 Jul 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2017 01:31

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page