Carbon Black Dangers
Carbon black -- which the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified as a 2B carcinogen, or "a dust that is possibly carcinogenic to humans" -- is found in toner ink. While you're not exposed to it during normal use, if a toner cartridge breaks, you may inhale it or have it touch your skin. To avoid accidentally inhaling or touching this chemical, don a paper breathing mask and protective gloves whenever changing the toner ink in any of your office's photocopiers or disposing of old toner ink cartridges. Carbon black inhalation may cause headaches, eye irritation, chronic itchiness and small growths on the tongue. By extension, direct contact with the skin is likely to cause severe itchiness and irritation.
Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Photocopiers that use toner ink may emit carbon monoxide when they overheat in poorly ventilated areas, according to the London Hazards Center. Exposure to carbon monoxide may cause a dramatically increased pulse rate, severe headaches and drowsiness. To combat this problem, keep your office's photocopiers in well-ventilated areas and, if possible, open any nearby windows when the devices are in use. This is particularly important if your photocopiers are constantly used throughout the workday, as the devices are more likely to overheat with frequent use.
You run the risk of burning yourself when handling toner ink cartridges that have recently been used. Toner ink cartridges to heat up very quickly when their host copier is in use. If you attempt to replace a toner ink cartridge shortly after making use of its host copier, you risk incurring severe burns. Wait at least an hour after making your last copy to remove a toner ink cartridge.
Photocopiers that make use of toner ink emit high levels of ozone during electrical discharges. Regular exposure to ozone is synonymous with a multitude of health problems, including headaches, nausea and dermatitis, as well as severe irritation in the throat, lungs and eyes. In the same fashion as avoiding the health risks associated with carbon monoxide exposure, you can effectively minimize your risk of ozone inhalation by keeping the areas in which your photocopiers are housed properly ventilated.
originally published by Chron
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