3D printers can create amazing things, but new research show that they may have a dark side – at least when it comes to our health. Scientists found that the printing process involved in creating those fantastic 3D models can release a high amount of ultrafine particles into the air, which can be harmful if inhaled.
According to a recent study, small-scale 3D printers — the type used in homes and small offices — can emit a high amount of ultrafine particles into the atmosphere. The researchers didn’t test commercial-grade printers. 3D printers work by heating up thermoplastic, which emits particles. The real problem is that these fine particles are just the right size to get into the lungs and move through the body.
Don’t go throwing out your shiny new 3D printer, though. According to the study, the amount of nanoparticles released is equivalent to the amount released when cooking with an electric skillet or when grilling food on a gas or electric stove. The report recommends using 3D printers in a well-ventilated area just to be safe.