Well, that’s going to put some sand on a few fires. A scientific journal studied the byproducts of 3D printing and discovered that, amazingly, melting plastic in your house might be killing you.
3D printing isn’t actually a new technology, per se. There are similar processes done in industrial environments. The difference is your house probably isn’t inspected by OSHA, so as your 3D printer farts out spatulas and Yoda figurines and guns, it’s also farting out ultra-fine particles. And that’s bad news.
UFPs deposit efficiently in both the pulmonary and alveolar regions of the lung, as well as in head airways. Deposition in head airways can also lead to translocation to the brain via the olfactory nerve… Several recent epidemiological studies have also shown that elevated UFP number concentrations are associated with adverse health effects, including total and cardio-respiratory mortality, hospital admissions for stroke, and asthma symptoms.
In other words, you might be depositing chunks of plastic on your brain and in your lungs. Chunks of plastic that bring along something nastier and, even if they don’t, can still kill you anyway. Man, at least smoking might get you a denim jacket or something.
This is a problem that can be solved pretty simply, fortunately enough, by wearing facemasks and properly ventilating the area, but it does illustrate that the 3D printing revolution has a long way to go before we’ve got one of these in every apartment. Now we settle, and wait for the inevitable lawsuit.
Photo courtesy Creative Tools on Flickr