Is toner toxic?

November 11, 20200

Is toner toxic?

Toner printers are commonly used in large offices where high print volumes are needed. At some point, somebody in the office needs to change a toner cartridge. If you have been the one to carry out this simple task, you have probably noticed some fine black dust that sometimes comes off on your hands or wafts into the air as you pull the old cartridge out of the Laserjet printer. That powder is the toner itself – the substance that is melted onto the paper to form the text and images when you print. 

Many people wonder if inhaling or touching this fine plastic powder can do you any harm. Enough people have asked this question to warrant extensive scientific studies. The results of these studies are encouraging for businesses that use toner printers and for those who are tasked with replacing cartridges.

One such study examined the reaction of laboratory rats to low doses of toner. It was found that there were no adverse effects at all, so the doses were gradually increased. At high enough dosages, the rats did experience slight lung irritation. However, the amounts of toner required to stimulate even the mildest respiratory reaction was far higher than anyone is likely to encounter when changing a toner cartridge. There was no long-term effect on the rats. Once the toner was removed from their enclosures, they stopped experiencing any lung irritation and showed no signs that the exposure had caused any delayed reactions or sensitivities. Most notably, it was revealed that there was absolutely no reason to suspect that toner had any carcinogenic effects. 

The conclusion was that toner does not seem to have any toxic effects whatsoever. It may cause a little irritation when it comes into contact with the eyes – but then it can easily be rinsed out using an eyewash station or even just a little water. You may still wish to prevent inhaling it or allowing it to come into contact with your skin. The use of gloves or a paper or cloth mask when changing a cartridge will be more than enough to prevent exposure.

For more information on toner printing or any other HP printing solutions, contact Tarsus Distribution.

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