How emissions from 3D printers pose a potential health hazard

The advent of 3D printing allows for an hours-to-days turnaround time for rapid prototyping and production of parts, by bringing manufacturing abilities closer to the engineers designing the parts being produced. The commodity cost of 3D printers, likewise, has led to their inclusion in schools as part of a broader push for STEM education.

However, air quality is likely to suffer as a result—a 3D printer is essentially a miniature manufacturing plant, in form and function, and is often deployed in facilities, such as standard office buildings, not properly equipped for ventilation. Volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations in air increase with the use of 3D printers, with a two-year study by UL and the Georgia Institute of Technology finding 216 individual VOCs released into indoor air through the use of 3D printers.

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