Physicochemical and Morphological Characterization of Nanoparticles From Photocopiers: Implications for Environmental Health

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  • 3:11PM Jul 29, 2012
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In a recent article published in the peer-reviewed Nanotoxicology journal, RJ Lee Group’s Dr. Kristin Bunker, along with Dhimiter Bello, John Martin, Christopher Santeufemio, Qingwei Sun, Martin Shafer, and Philip Demokritou, explores the potential linking of printing and photocopying with environmental health effects by analyzing nanoparticles produced by the technologies.

BF-STEM image
Bright field scanning transmission electron microscopy (BF-STEM) image of airborne particulate matter collected from a photocopier’s exhaust port.

Here is the abstract:

Several reports link printing and photocopying with genotoxicity, immunologic and respiratory diseases. Photocopiers and printers emit nanoparticles, which may be involved in these diseases. The physicochemical and morphological composition of these emitted nanoparticles, which is poorly understood and is critical for toxicological evaluations, was assessed in this study using both real-time instrumentation and analytical methods. Tests included elemental composition (40 metals), semi-volatile organics (100 compounds) and single particle analysis, using multiple high-sensitivity/resolution techniques. Identical analyses were performed on the toners and dust collected from copier’s exhaust filter. Engineered nanoparticles, including titanium dioxide, iron oxide and fumed silica, and several metals were found in toners and airborne nanoscale fraction. Chemical composition of airborne nanoscale fraction was complex and reflected toner chemistry. These findings are important in understanding the origin and toxicology of such nanoparticles. Further investigation of their chemistry, larger scale exposure studies and thorough toxicological characterization of emitted nanoparticles is needed.

– Abstract from Nanotoxicology

The full article is available for download here.