In the first phase of its project to generate standards for safer 3D printing, the UL assess airborne particles and volatile compounds released during extrusion of several polymer filaments.
A two-year study from Underwriters Laboratoryexamines the implications of ultrafine particles and volatile organic compounds released during 3D printing on human health. Although enclosures and other features on 3D printers are usually included to minimize the release of airborne particles during extrusion, further investigation is needed to develop standards that will ensure the safety of people in the area.
UL presented its results at the Summit on the Safety Science of 3D Printing. Its study explores several polymer filaments, including ABS and PLA, which produce similar levels of ultrafine particles. They identified 50 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during printing, of which the most significant were styrene, caprolactam, and lactide.