How Safe Is Toner? Berto chews it over
Some toners are made from bio-friendly organic products such as palm oil and soybeans. Berto chews over the likelihood it is completely safe and could even be eaten! Some believe it to be that safe, but I would not be in a hurry to sprinkle it over my corn flakes and milk.
While it is considered not dangerous to health, toner used in laser printers has been of a common safety concern for governments, consumers as well as the manufacturers for decades. As with all dust, however, it may cause irritation of the respiratory system if one is exposed to a high concentration of it.
Toner is a very fine powder that uses organic compounds and polymers to make up the majority of the material. When printing documents, an electrically charged drum picks up the tiny particles and rolls them onto the page according to the pattern being printed.
According to Wikipedia, toner is a powder mixture used in laser printers to form the printed text and images on the paper, in general through a toner cartridge. In earlier photocopiers, this low-cost carbon toner was poured by the user from a bottle into a reservoir in the machine. After the first 1984 Hewlett-Packard LaserJet, most printers have been fed directly from a sealed toner cartridge.
As a fine powder, toner can remain suspended in the air for some period, and is considered to have health effects comparable to inert dust. It can be an irritant to people with respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis. Research by the Queensland University of Technology has indicated that some laser printers emit submicrometer particles which have been associated with other environmental studies with respiratory diseases. Muhle et al. (1991) reported that the responses to chronically inhaled copying toner, plastic dust pigmented with carbon black, titanium dioxide and silica, were also similar qualitatively to titanium dioxide and diesel exhaust. Carbon black, one of the components of toner is classified as “possibly carcinogenic” by the IARC.
Berto #18: August 5, 2014, How Safe Is Toner – Berto chews it over
Last month’s Berto cartoon: Reaching Booming Emerging Markets – Berto plugs in
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