Although they are still extremely expensive and slow, 3D printers are called to play a fundamental role in the creation of objects of the Smart homes of the future. Some of us have already seen them in operation and we could see and sense many of its possibilities.
However, as almost all new technology coming to market emerging fears about whether they will be fully safe for our health or they might have some impact. This is what raised check a few French and American scientists who have recently made public their findings in a comprehensive report published on the Web.
The study basically consisted of analyzing the amount of particles emitted by 5 different brands of hot fusion 3D printers using 9 different types of materials for strands, thus covering a representative sample of the 3D printers currently sold. The conclusions?
Do not breathe the smoke emitted by the printer
Then that as already suspected, depending on the materials you are using printer to form layers of the object, these emissions they may be harmful to health. For example, in cases in which it is used the extruder ABS plastic emits to melt the material between 10 and 110 μg/min of a potentially carcinogenic substance (according to the Agency for Research on Cancer) called styrene and between 2 and 180 μg/min of caprolactam particles when using nylon filaments.
Also emit between 4 and 5 μg/min of lactide using PLA plastics (from organic materials such as corn) as material for printing, although in this case not shown that is a potentially harmful substance for health.
What can you do to minimize risk?
So counted may seem that the study is a both alarmist and that we should leave print in 3D as soon as possible. Nothing further from the truth. Enough with take a few precautions to minimize any potential risks to health.
For example, it is printed in rooms equipped with good ventilation, a good circulation of air which is the harmful particles and lay them on the ground until we breathe them. It can also be wear a mask If we are going to be next to the printer long time smelling the humillo that emits the plastic to melt.
Finally, not to be that we have a good it room ventilated large It is not recommended to operate several of these printers at the same time, as particulate emissions and risk are multiplied.