All Quiet In HP Printers

In one of my previous posts I wrote about the results of a study done by Australian researchers. According to the study, laser printers seem to be emitting into air presumably printer toner particles hazardous to health. And it turned out that majority (12 of 13) of tested printer happened to be made by HP.

Soon after the results of the study were published, HP responded with a letter posted on Wired.com blog. The blogger Charlie Sorrel believes this response is only to pacify the public, though the matter definitely requires further careful investigation, and advises to sit away from your printer (inkjet printer owners may feel relieved

Here is what HP’s vice president of marketing for supplies Tuan Tran said:

After a preliminary review of the Queensland University of Technology research on particle emission characteristics of office printers, HP does not agree with its conclusion or some of the bold claims the authors have made recently in press reports.

HP stands behind the safety of its products. Testing of ultrafine particles is a very new scientific discipline. There are no indications that ultrafine particle (UFP) emissions from laser printing systems are associated with special health risks. Currently, the nature and chemical composition of such particles – whether from a laser printer or from a toaster – cannot be accurately characterized by analytical technology. However, many experts believe that many of the UFPs found in common household and office products are not discrete solid particles, but may be condensation products or small droplets created during thermal processes.

HP agrees more testing in this area is needed, which is why we’ve been active with two of the world’s leading independent authorities on this subject: Air Quality Sciences in the United States and the Wilhelm-Klauditz Institute in Germany.

Vigorous tests are an integral part of HP’s research and development and its strict quality-control procedures. HP LaserJet printing systems, original HP print cartridges and papers are tested for dust release and possible material emissions and are compliant with all applicable international health and safety requirements. In addition to meeting or exceeding these guidelines, HP’s design criteria for its laser printing systems incorporate guidelines from both the Blue Angel program in Germany and the Greenguard program in the United States.

Based on our own testing, HP knows that many variables can affect the outcome of tests for ultrafine particle emissions. Although HP is not aware of all of the specific methodologies used in the Queensland study, based on what we’ve seen
in the report – as well as our own work in this area – we do not believe there is a link between printer emissions and any public health risk. Specifically, HP does not see an association between printer use by customers and negative health effects for volatile organic compounds, ozone or dust. While we recognize ultrafine, fine, and coarse particles are emitted from printing systems, these levels are consistently below recognized occupational exposure limits.

HP hopes to learn more from the study authors about how products were chosen for the study, how ranges were determined given no standards exist, and many other factors that could have influenced the results.

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