Assessment and Mitigation of Exposure of 3-D Printer Emissions


This study monitored particulates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from 3-D printers using acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer (ABS) filaments at a workplace to assess exposure before and after introducing exposure mitigation measures. Air samples were collected in the printing room and adjacent corridor, and real-time measurements of ultrafine and fine particle were also conducted. Extensive physicochemical characterizations of 3-D printer emissions were performed, including real-time (size distribution, number concentration) nanoparticle characterization, size-fractionated mass distribution and concentration, as well as chemical composition for metals by ICP-MS and VOCs by GC-FID, real-time VOC monitors, and proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-TOF-MS). Air sampling showed low levels of total suspended particulates (TSP, 9-12.5/m3), minimal levels (1.93-4 ppm) of total volatile organic chemicals (TVOC), and formaldehyde (2.5-21.7 ppb). Various harmful gases, such as formaldehyde, acrolein, acetone, hexane, styrene, toluene, and trimethylamine, were detected at concentrations in the 1-100 ppb by PTR-TOF-MS when air sample was collected into the Tedlar bag from the front of the 3-D printer. Ultrafine particles having an average particle size (30 nm count median diameter and 71 nm mass median diameter) increased during the 3-D printing operation. They decreased to the background level after the 3-D printing operation, while fine particles continually increased after the termination of 3-D printing to the next day morning. The exposure to 3-D printer emissions was greatly reduced after isolating 3-D printers in the enclosed space. Particle number concentration measured by real-time particle counters (DMAS and OPC) were greatly reduced after isolating 3-D printers to the isolated place.

Authors: Boowook Kim, Jae Hoo Shin, Hoi Pin Kim, Mi Seong Jo, Hee Sang Kim, Jong Sung Lee, Hong Ku Lee, Hyuk Cheol Kwon, Sung Gu Han, Noeul Kang, Mary Gulumian, Dhimiter Bello, Il Je Yu
; Full Source: Frontiers in toxicology 2022 Feb 18;3:817454. doi: 10.3389/ftox.2021.817454.