Exposure to chemical substances and particles emitted during additive manufacturing


Additive manufacturing is an innovative technology that allows the production of three-dimensional objects replicating digital models. The aim of this study was to identify whether the use of this technology in a room without mechanical ventilation system may pose a health risk to its users due to the emission of chemical compounds and fine particles. Measurements were conducted in a furnished space with natural ventilation only, during additive manufacturing on a fused deposition modeling printer with 9 different filaments. Both chemicals and particles were sampled. Volatile organic compounds and phthalic acid esters were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry detection. Carbonyl compounds were determined using the high-performance liquid chromatography with diode-array detection method. Fine particle emission studies were carried out using a DiSCmini particle counter (Testo). In the air samples, numerous chemical substances were identified including both the monomers of the individual materials used for printing such as styrene and other degradation products (formaldehyde, toluene, xylenes). Moreover, 3D printing process released particles with modal diameters ranging from 22.1 to 106.7 nm and increased the number concentration of particles in the workplace air. The results of analyses, depending on the type of material applied, showed the presence of particles and chemical substances in the working environment that may pose a risk to human health. Most of the identified substances can be harmful when inhaled and irritating to eyes and skin.

Authors: Elżbieta Dobrzyńska, Dorota Kondej, Joanna Kowalska, Małgorzata Szewczyńska
; Full Source: Environmental science and pollution research international 2022 Apr 29. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-20347-2.