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#15 - 3D Printing in Surgery

Is 3D Printing Hazardous to Your Health?

The FlashForge Creator 3D Printer (Courtesy of FlashForge)

While 3D printing is a promising technology much in the news, it might not be so good for your health, according to a new study published in Environmental Science & Technology.

The team of experts from the Illinois Institute of Technology looked into the quantity of ultrafine particles emitted by five brands of 3D printer. The researchers also investigated the level of toxic volatile organic compounds emitted when printing materials are heated.

They found that printing in a closed space resulted in particle emission levels up to “approximately 10 times higher than what we typically observe in indoor air in our office and laboratory environments.” Certain materials even emitted carcinogens.

The researchers recommended that manufacturers work toward designing low-emission filament materials and/or printing technologies.

They also stressed that “caution should be used when operating many printer and filament combinations in enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces or without the aid of gas and particle filtration systems.”

About the Author

Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She's the editor-in-chief of MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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