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Is Ink Toner Toxic?

Unknown to many business owners, toner ink — one of the most common photocopier accessories found in modern workplaces — is synonymous with a range of health risks. Overexposure and failure to handle toner ink properly may result in a number of undesirable effects on your health. Learning about the risks of overexposure to toner ink is the first step towards protecting yourself and your employees.

What is Printer Ink Made From?

Most of the liquid printer inks contain the same basic ingredients: water, ethylene glycol and alcohol. Based on these ingredients, we can answer the question “Is printer ink toxic? “In the case of liquid ink, the answer is NO. The basic ingredients of liquid printer ink are not toxic, but consuming them can make you sick. The answer is a little different for laser printers that use toner instead of ink.

Laser printers, which are commonly used in office buildings, do not use liquid ink. Instead, these printers use a fine powder material called a toner, which is melted on paper. Toner contains ingredients that can be hazardous if you are exposed to them in large quantities. They can be irritating in small amounts if you get them in your eyes or mouth. But under normal circumstances, when you use a functional laser printer as intended, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if the toner cartridge in your office printer is damaged, be careful not to inhale too much of it.Broken toner cartridges sometimes release carbon black, a chemical used to create black toner that can be toxic when ingested.

If you are printing from home, you are likely to use liquid ink, so the above-mentioned hazards associated with the toner do not apply. But if you’re working in the office building and you’re using the printers there, just be aware of their toner toxicity in the event of an accident.

Is Printer Ink Toxic?

Printing ink is generally safe to use. It’s not safe to drink, inhale, or get in your eyes, but these are obviously unusual examples of printer ink accidents. Still, the question is, “Is printer ink toxic? “It’s worth asking.

Simply put, liquid printer ink is just as safe as ordinary dish soap. You don’t want to drink, inhale, or get dish soap in your eyes, just like printer ink. And spilling it on your skin is harmless, as long as you wash it off shortly after the spill (if you don’t, you may experience slight skin irritation). Exposure to printer ink, in any capacity, will not result in life-threatening conditions.

Toner, used for laser printers, is also non-toxic. Like liquid ink, you should avoid getting toner in your mouth or eyes, but it is generally safe for intended use. Ultra-fine toxic particles can be released during the laser printing process when the toner is melted onto the paper. These particles are considered to be “volatile organic-chemical” substances (VOCs) and may be harmful when exposed to high doses. The release of VOCs during laser printing is far too minimal to cause harm, so you don’t need to worry about VOCs when your laser printer is working properly.

Considering the low toxicity of both liquid ink and toner, the answer to the question ‘Is printer ink toxic? “Is still NO … but with a warning: in rare cases, such as when printer ink is consumed, inhaled or exposed to the eye area, it can cause illness or irritation. It contains chemicals that are intended for staining paper, not you, so always use printer ink as intended.

If you have problems with your laser printer, such as a broken cartridge, beware of toxic fumes that could be released from the toner. If the toxicity of liquid ink is comparable to dish soap, the vapors released from toner are comparable to paint vapors. Nothing to worry about unless you inhale excessively.

Handling Toner Cartridges Safely

Although the risk of handling toner cartridges is very low, you may still want to take some basic precautions. These simple suggestions may significantly reduce the chance of even mild irritation due to accidental toner contact.

Wearing gloves when changing toner cartridges is a great way to prevent toners from coming into contact with the skin on your hands as you handle the product. As mentioned earlier, skin contact may cause mild irritation, but is unlikely to be severe.

Other safety precautions you may wish to take may include wearing a paper mask over your mouth and nose and wearing simple safety goggles. These may prevent the printer toner from entering your airway or eyes. While the risk of harm is minimal, these additional safety measures may help to ease your mind.

By Geraoma - Own work, Public Domain,

Are You Looking for Toner, Ink & Supply Store Near Concord, California?

Office Machine Specialists has been servicing, selling office equipment as well as toner, ink and supplies since 1995. A family run business that has dedicated our efforts to providing the best equipment options and after-sales service to our clients. Our goal is to ask the right questions and guide our customers to make smart decisions about new machine leases and purchases.  We were servicing copiers long before the internet was a viable resource, and have transitioned to the digital workflow environment of color printing, scanning, account control and fleet management. With over 20 years in the industry we have extensive experience with many brands and consider OMS to be a valuable resource to any organization. Contact us for all of your copier needs here!