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UL Releases New Research on Health and Environmental Impact of 3D Printing

Safety in 3D printing is a topic we have been covering a lot and as Rachel Park had revealed in this post from late 2016, so does  UL, a leading global safety science organization. The company just releases the proceedings from “Safety Science of 3D Printing,” a leadership summit with participation from more than 45 stakeholders—including printer manufacturers, material suppliers, public health professionals, academic researchers, school users, and government organizations.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a not-for-profit organization that is part of the UL family of companies, is investing in independent human health research to provide consumers, manufacturers and policymakers with a greater scientific understanding for identifying and reducing potential health hazards. Research results were released following a two-year study of emissions from desktop 3D printers conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory UniversityRollins School of Public Health, and UL’s Chemical Research Initiative.

Results indicated that printers can be a source of ultrafine particles and volatile organic chemicals to the indoor air while operating. An environmental chamber methodology was developed for studying emissions and monitoring their behavior over time, and comparative particle toxicity studies were presented. Supporting research was presented by other key public health and academic organizations.

Dialogue among the participants focused on measurement methodologies; exposure models; continuing research needs; toxicity measurements of particle emissions; and communication to the public and users of 3D printers for minimizing emission exposure and public health impacts. According to Dr. Marilyn Black, Senior Technical Advisor to UL, “Based on research results and safety concern over these emissions, stakeholders agreed to move forward with UL taking a lead role to develop an ANSI standard for measuring and assessing printer emissions for safe use in indoor spaces.”

The proceedings are available in the form of a digest summarizing the research topics presented by each presenter during the event and are available at: http://ulchemicalsafety.org/initiative/3d-safety-science-proceedings/. Additional technical information applying to UL chemical research initiatives and publications can be found at: http://ulchemicalsafety.org/.

UL fosters safe living and working conditions for people everywhere through the application of science to solve safety, security and sustainability challenges.  The UL Mark engenders trust enabling the safe adoption of innovative new products and technologies. Everyone at UL shares a passion to make the world a safer place. We test, inspect, audit, certify, validate, verify, advise and train and we support these efforts with software solutions for safety and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit UL.com.

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