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Danger Lurks in Printers Near Desks, QUT Research Finds

The laser printer on that desk near you could be making you ill.

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The laser printer on that desk near you could be making you ill.

Almost one-third of popular laser printers emit large numbers of ultra-fine particles that could lead to cardio-vascular problems, Australian research has found.

Study leader Lidia Morawska, of Queensland University of Technology's International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, found harmful tiny particles were formed when toner was fused to the paper.

Professor Morawska said yesterday that these particles, which were about the same size as smoke and vehicle-emission particles, were potentially dangerous.

"These particles deposit very deeply in the human respiratory system and can cause irritation which could lead to cardio-vascular problems," she said.

"It depends on the concentrations."

Professor Morawska said there was no way for users to know which printers were high emitters.

"The driving force is the temperature of the system," she said.

She advised office workers to sit as far as possible from laser printers and to make sure the machines were well-ventilated.