Think Before You Print

By Miriam Zellnik

If you think the environmental impacts of paper use are all you had to worry about when you print a document, you’re in for a surprise. Researchers at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, have found that the emissions generated by printers greatly impact indoor air quality, causing pollution that can be directly inhaled into the lungs and, in a large enough concentration, can irritate skin and eyes and even exacerbate asthma problems.

Printer giant Hewlett-Packard disputes the research, stating it “does not believe there is a link between printer emissions and any public health risk,” but it appears that more research is warranted. And until someone finds a definitive answer, you might want to reconsider where you’ve put your home or office printer (good ventilation is a must) and how frequently you use it.