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Printing Systems: Meeting Market Demands for Healthy Indoor Environments

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Acceptable indoor environmental quality is a necessary requirement for today's office buildings, schools, public facilities, and personal residences. On a global basis, indoor air quality is one of the top three environmental issues facing all countries and all people. Toxic chemicals, inorganic gases, particles, and microbes that are released by products into the indoor environment can contribute to human irritation, discomfort, and long term health consequences to those exposed. These human effects can lead to excessive medical costs, significant loss of productivity, and undesirable litigation. Printing devices are known contributors of indoor pollution such as respirable particles, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as styrene and formaldehyde, and ozone. Sources of these include construction materials, electronic and heating processes, inks and toners, papers and transparencies, plastics, and cleaning solvents. Manufacturers of office equipment are proactively designing for the environment, including indoor air quality as an important part of their product stewardship. Eco-criteria have been established for acceptable levels of airborne contaminants released by operating equipment. This paper will review current international programs addressing allowable emissions from print devices (including Blue Angel, Greenguard, and the State of California), test procedures, and representative emissions data from printers, copier, and computers.

Eco-criteria are based on the performance of operating office equipment and acceptable contributions of certain pollutants. Acceptable pollutant emissions of respirable particles, formaldehyde, styrene, benzene, and total volatile organic compounds are based on existing health and safety data with some consideration for protecting sensitive people from irritants and odorants. The primary measurement technique, environmental chamber technology, has been validated to test products under realistic use conditions and to determine emission rates of pollutant release. These data can be used in exposure models to predict and estimate potential human exposures, and to compare product data with prescribed eco-criteria. This measurement technology has been accepted on a global basis and ISO documentation is being prepared as a joint US/European effort.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • For more than 25 years, NIP has been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in non-impact and digital printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems, including drop-on-demand ink jet, wide format ink jet, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based electrophotographic printers, production digital printing systems, and thermal printing systems, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields.

    Since 2005, NIP has been held in conjunction with the Digital Fabrication Conference.

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