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Printer Toner Safety: The Dust Musts

When changing printer toner, one's first priority is often getting the printer running as quickly as possible to finish the project at hand.

But it's best to slow down and take the time to follow necessary safety precautions.

While printer toner itself isn't a health hazard, its fine powder in high concentration can be.

This powder can stay in the air for quite a while, and is similar to dust when it comes to its effects on our body, resulting in irritations like sneezing and coughing. Add any respiratory conditions like bronchitis or asthma and these effects worsen.

TONER POWDER SAFETY WHEN REFILLING

HP Refill Kit for HP 300 - 301 and 350 cartridges

HP 364 Refill Kit

How can this dust become airborne? You'd be surprised at how easy it is. Improper disposal of printer toner in waste baskets can quickly spread dust through the air. Machine spills can cycle through the ventilator fan. Over-filled waste toner compartments can overflow within the machine.

laser printer toners are not considered carcinogens, or cancer causing, by increasing the risk of those individuals facing extremely heavy and long-term exposure. However, sensible precautions should always be taken when refilling and for typical office and personal use is deemed safe.

So take precautions. Vacuum, don't sweep or brush, spilled toner dust. Clean up desktops or surfaces with a damp cloth. Should toner get on your hands, wash them thoroughly and immediately with soap and cold water, which keeps your pores closed and protects your hands from becoming stained.

It should also be noted that the Industry is well aware that the particulate size of toner particles cannot go below 4 microns - this being the size - below which particles can enter through pores into the blood stream.

Avoid any contact with your eyes or mouth, and never ingest. To play it extra safe, put the toner in a zipped plastic bag to avoid possible dust emissions.

If you experience shortness of breath or persistent coughing, stop working with the printer toner, if applicable, and get fresh air immediately. Then seek medical attention if your symptoms persist.

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You can find additional technical resources for this article in the technology section at: http://www.proprint.co.uk

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