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August 5, 2013

Should 3D printers come with more obvious health warnings?

While we all rightly get excited over the marvel that is 3D printing, we’d do well to remember it still carries its share of health risks.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

3D printer

As more and more 3D printers hit the high street, the costs of owning one will drop and drop.

It’s such a fantastic development – to be able to download designs from a retailer that you then print at home – and people can even print out replacement cupboard handles and other miscellany with them.

But amid the fervour currently surrounding the technology, one thing that has gone largely unheralded is the associated health risks of printing.

Researchers who have published a paper in the journal, Atmospheric Environment, compared operating a 3D printer indoors to smoking inside.

While factories using the devices take safety precautions, it is less likely such stringent measures will be adopted by those printing for fun at home.

The problem is, whereas cigarette packets come with rather overzealous health warnings, the manufacturers of 3D printers don’t seem to really let people know about it – maybe because they’re scared of losing sales.

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Printers don’t need to come with toxic health warnings like cigarette packets do, but manufacturers need to ensure they provide proper safety recommendations in the instruction manual, and that they make people aware of the dangers.

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