Google+ post by James Rivera on 2018-11-13 09:11:00 UTC

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(James Rivera) #1
(Neil Darlow) #2

So they tested ABS and PLA which we know emit substances during printing by the smell.

What about materials like PET-G which is near odourless? And how big an effect does temperature have on the emissions?

I purposely buy materials capable of being printed at lower temperatures in their class e.g. ABS at 220C, PET-G at 210C and PLA at 185C. Does that lower the risk?

(ThantiK) #3

Oh jesus they make this sound so crazy. Print only outdoors and stand far away from the printer? You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.

(George Novtekov) #4

Your diesel spits much more hazardous particles that have almost same toxicity as asbestos called cabon nano particles as graphene and nano tubes but noone seems to care if the fuel is cheaper.

(Kurt Wendt) #5

@George_Novtekov Yes - but, you don’t run Diesel inside. However, I agree - too many times I have seen diesel vehicles that just Stink! And, its GOT to be bad for the environment. But, I have heard that supposedly diesel engines are more efficient - and that’s probably why they are still manufactured and in use!

(Richard Karlson) #6

I tend to believe this article. I was quite puzzled several times when my “Canary” security camera and and “air quality” sensor would go off. After awhile, I realized it always occured about 20 minutes after starting a 3d print. At the time I was only using PLA. The graph would show a clear gradual rise in bad air quality within minutes of starting a print.

(Ryan Carlyle) #7

If you click through to the actual studies, they report that ABS printing is EQUIVALENT TO RUNNING A LASER PAPER PRINTER which isn’t exactly something everybody freaks out about. You also get similar UFP levels cooking in your kitchen.

Ventilation is a good thing. Enclosing your printer also helps a lot; the UFPs condense into larger particles (which are less hazardous) over time.

(Ryan Carlyle) #8

@Neil_Darlow Odor is not a good indicator; whether something smells good or bad doesn’t have all that much correlation with toxicity. Cyanide gas smells like almonds.

You know how PETG puts a film of schmutz all over the hot end? That’s aerosol particles condensing out of the air.

Yes, printing cooler helps a lot with the particle count, according to the study.

(James Rivera) #9

I realized the article was a bit alarmist when I posted it, but I was curious to see what the discussion here would be. Personally, I stopped printing ABS a long time ago because I’d already heard about the toxicity of the aerosols (and because PETG is just sooo much easier and better for my needs in situations where PLA isn’t good enough). I also remember getting a slight headache printing ABS in my office when I first started out 3D printing. But I was surprised by the article mentioning PLA, because I thought that it was completely safe.

(ThantiK) #10

@James_Rivera ABS isn’t unsafe either. There have been people working in the ABS injection molding industry their whole lives with no increased signs of problems.

(Whosawhatsis) #11

In related news, 55.3 million people die every year after being exposed to dihydrogen monoxide.

(Kurt Wendt) #12

Come on WhoSa - that’s a Joke! I know that website - total tongue-in-cheek, as its just a strange term for water!!!

(Ryan Carlyle) #13

@James_Rivera the risk profile here is not well understood, but probably at a “take easy steps to reduce unnecessary exposure out of an abundance of caution” type level, not anywhere near “measurable increase in cancer” levels.

High levels of UFP exposures from, say, diesel exhaust ARE proven to cause elevated levels of premature mortality from a wide range of health issues. But the exposure you get from a single 3D printer running intermittently is on the same order of magnitude as a ton of other things in your life that nobody seriously worries about, like searing a steak in a skillet or using a fireplace in your home. Both of those introduce carcinogenic compounds and UFPs into the air but at levels that just don’t amount to anything.

As @ThantiK notes, long-term studies of ABS injection molding facility workers (who have millions of times more exposure to the same compounds) show no major health impacts. Minor side effects like reduction of sense of smell and headaches may occur but they largely go away when you end exposure.

I personally run an air scrubber in my ABS printer or put it in the garage, but that’s for smell and keeping my wife happy more than anything.

(James Rivera) #14

@ThantiK I’m sure you’re right about that, but what precautions has that industry taken to mitigate harmful fumes? (E.g. ventilation standards)

(Ryan Carlyle) #15

Another note, virgin Natureworks PLA resin would be a “safer” compound to print compared to ABS, but the additives used for coloring, impact toughness, crystallinity modification, etc are all potentially sources of contamination. The masterbatch pellets used to color cheap PLA are made of polystyrene and will emit styrene and other nasties just like ABS, only to a somewhat lesser degree.

(Whosawhatsis) #16

@Ryan_Carlyle “a somewhat lesser degree” meaning that they only emit <10% as much of those particular nasties, since that is the proportion of polystyrene masterbatch pellets in the mixture.

(Whosawhatsis) #17

@Kurt_Wendt It’s not just a joke. It’s a social commentary about people’s fear of things they don’t understand, and how easy it is to exploit that fear and lack of understanding with sensationalist headlines, at the expense of truth and rational discourse (which don’t sell nearly as many ads).

(Ryan Carlyle) #18

@Whosa_whatsis agreed, with the caveat that a factor of 10 is pretty minimal given that the experimental results for UFP concentrations spans four+ orders of magnitude for ABS or for PLA based on filament blend and printer settings and test conditions… the worst PLA result is equivalent to a mid-range ABS result even though the median PLA result is way better than the median ABS result for UFP concentration.

(Richard Karlson) #19

Here is the graph of my living room air when I started 3D printing as measured by my “Canary” air quality sensor. I have no idea how harmful it is but the sensor sure picked something up, but cooking never set it off.

(George Novtekov) #20

UFP will be produced always when mechanical work occure. But this study is incomplete. You should not only measure the saturation in the air of UFP but also their size an properties. Lets take the normal dust in the nature it is not that harmful as it is in most cases spherical in shape. This shape do not tend to penetrate cells membrane that easy and are easy to evacuate. Now lets see what your diesel soits in you garage. Carbon based UFP they are tubular or flat in shape that tend to punetrade the cell membrane same way as asbestos. Very hard to be evacuated as often their sharp shape penetrate imune cells that try to evacuate them. But most of the Germans every day in the winter pre heat their diesel in their garage. 3d printing as any other industry processes is not home safe but definitely not dagerous or deadly.