Feeling under the weather? The culprit might not be the bug everyone’s passing around — it could be the office printer that’s wreaking havoc on your immune system.
Printer manufacturers threw a collective fit when Australia’s Queensland Institute of Technology’s research claimed that laser printers were the biggest cause of indoor air pollution in most offices.
Two years and another study performed by Dr. Lidia Morowaska revealed that not much has been done to fix the problem. Most laser printers are shooting out enough volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with the help of heat and ozone to harm nearby employees.
This study tested Hewlett-Packard machines over the course of printing 150 pages. Depending on the specific model, the printers were at their most dangerous either at the very beginning of the print process, or after a few minutes of printing.
The speed and sophistication of temperature control within the printers was the main factor deciding particle emission. More expensive units that had better temperature control technology were safer when used in regular conditions, but if an office was even a few degrees warmer than average, VOC emissions skyrocketed.
Dr. Morowaska’s advice: Don’t print unless you absolutely need it.