HP and other laser printers could cause cancer

August 1, 2007

HP and other laser printers could cause cancer If you have a laser printer at home or work in an environment with heavy laser printer use then your health may be in danger.  An Australian air quality researcher believes the tiny particles released in toner when a page is printed is just as dangerous as inhaling cigarette smoke.

Queensland University of Technology found that 17 of 62 printers were “high particle” emitters, two printers released “medium particle” emitters, six had a “low count,” and 37 released no particles at all.  HP, one of the largest makers of both commercial and home printers dominated both the “high level” and “no level” emitting list of printers.

The emissions from the printers are considered to be a “significant health risk” according to Lidia Morawska of the University research team.  The particles are small in size and easily inhaled into the deepest part of the lounges and the effects can range from minor irritations to serious illnesses including cardiovascular problems or cancer.

HP released at statement to PC World which reads, “HP is currently reviewing the Queensland University of Technology research on particle emission characteristics of office printers. Vigorous tests under standardized operating conditions are an integral part of HP’s research and development and its strict quality control procedures.”

Of course it is, HP, of course it is.  But if it were, if it really were then we would not be having these problems and particle emissions come to light.  The researchers were quick to admit that additional testing is necessary.  Higher particle counts were present with the use of a new toner cartridge, when printing graphics or pictures which require more toner than text does.

If your office uses a lot of laser printers and what office doesn’t then you could very well be at risk, here’s my suggestion, hold your breathe while you are near a laser printer.  I can see it now from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), “This laser printer has been approved by the FDA for both home and office use due to a low or no particle emission count, please see attached label for further information about particle counts.”

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8 Responses to “HP and other laser printers could cause cancer”

  1. So:

    Oh no!

  2. Rick Reynolds:

    HP Inkjet printers could be a problem too. I have a small office with an HP 7100 series printer. Every time I am in my office, my eyes burn and I have a deep cough. I had bronchitis last month, and I knew my office was making me sick.

    Before this study emerged, I had searched the web for reports of health problems with inkjet printers, but I didn’t find any warnings or anything else.

  3. Ryan Parrish:

    you are so hot

  4. Libby:

    heres something to think about. I work in a small law firm less than 15 employees total. 3 of the paralegals including me have been diagnosed with cancer. all three of us have/had a laser printer next to our desks. None of us have/had a family history of cancer. I so far am the only of us 3 still alive…….

  5. Leah:

    I’ve recently been diagnosed with bladder cancer and read that it takes time to develop.

    One ’cause’ I read about was ‘carbon black’ used to make inks (including HP’s inkjet ink). I had worked in a test lab for HP inkjet printers which had ventilation problems they monitored (no openable windows either). There were hundreds of printers running in that room all the time.

    I initially developed a lung condition (later having an asthma attack), skin irritation and glossitis. Now bladder cancer. I just wonder if there is a class action lawsuit against HP by people exposed to as much ‘carbon black’ as I was?

  6. MRE:


    I have developed severe bronchial hyperreactivity and multiple chemical sensitivity. It was only caused by the vapours released by a photocopier and a laser printer. These machines can be a risk when they smell strongly and are used intensively in an unventilated place where someone is staying all the time because they can release dozens of different chemicals among them ozone and volatile compounds know for their deletereous effects on the airways. It is not so much a question of different commercial brands, it has more to do with the type of machine, paper and toner used and this may vary a lot.

    These chemical cocktails can produce complex toxicological syndromes that physicians are usually misdiagnosing (as allergy to pollens, viruses, asthma due to urban smog, atypical genetical sjogren sydrome, psychosomatic anxiety or others due to the fact that the medical establishment is not familiar with respiratory toxicology and do not usually enquiry about possible irritants for the airways that the patient might be breathing.

    In my case the damage to my health is making my life a misery but in some others the lesions may be very nasty as what is being told in this website.

    Anyone knowing of similar cases please report them here or elsewere and spread the news. It is important to make people aware of a potentially serious risk, easily avoidable but neglected everywhere for reasons which should be analyzed in depth.

  7. Joseph H:

    I would like to talk with anyone on this blog about their personal experience with health effects of working in or around copiers. I am researching this issue for a story I am working on. Please contact me at joseph.huprich@gmail.com. Thanks.

  8. Staci Tassa:

    Great place to start, I’m all new to this but very excited about getting back into writing again…I forgot how good it makes me feel.

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