Working near a laser printer = Second hand smoking?

Digital Inspiration links to an Australian study which claims that some laser printers release large amounts of small particles in the air which can potentially have adverse long-term health effects:

"If your cubicle is located somewhere near the common office printer, either ask the support staff to move the printer elsewhere or you shift your desk to a different place in the office as in the current setup, the air around you may be highly polluted."

More research is needed before a final recommendation can be made, as usual, but the study results could be something to have in mind. Printing less, potentially saves trees and keeps the air clean. You can save electronic texts online in Yahoo MyWeb, GMail, Google Notebook or any other service you prefer.

Laser Printers in Office Turn Employees into Passive Smokers. Digital Inspiration, 7/2007.
Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.


  1. I keep hearing about this. It's a worry, and something which most businesses don't yet seem to be aware of. I would imagine that laser printers using recycled toner are worse, because it has a habit of leaking.

    In our office we've kept the laser printers down to two and they are switched off 99% of the time.

  2. If anyone has an allergic reaction to the printer, just tell HR, and they are required by Federal Law to make reasonable accomodations such as changing the printer for an inkjet. If they continue using the laser printer, call OSHA, and log a complaint. You will also be able to file a discrimination lawsuit, as they are not accomodating a disabled person.

    Laser printers have NO business indoors, and spew out carcinogens with every print. Inkjets are much cheaper to operate, especially with the continous ink supply systems.

    If you have made all the proper notifications to the HR staff and management that you have an allergy to the laser printer dust, and they still operate the laser while you are in the office, or just prior to your arrival, then these actions could actually be considered a criminal assault, and should be prosecuted both in a civil court, but a criminal one as well.