Emissions of hazardous substances from low-cost colour laser printers

Project No. IFA 3117


completed 12/2010


The products tested according to RAL-UZ 122 for awarding of the "Blue Angel" mark are generally relatively expensive. Manufacturers seldom have their "small" desktop products tested. With the increasing number of laser printer models that are also capable of printing in colour, the question arose as to the level of emissions from small colour laser printers, and whether such devices can also be recommended for commercial use. A further aspect to be examined was whether the toners used in low-cost printers are comparable in their emissions and their hazardous substance content with toners studied for awarding of the BG-PRÜFZERT mark.
During the course of the project, it was proposed that a further aspect be examined, namely comparison of test-chamber measurements with those performed in a real office, and also the ways by which emissions from the products can be measured in a real office.


The products were tested in a test chamber in accordance with the test method to RAL-UZ 122. In addition, the release of ultrafine particles (UFPs) was examined by means of a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS).
The toners were studied separately. During routine testing of colour toners, mixed samples are studied in most of the tests.


Emissions from low-cost printers are comparable with those from the larger printers tested to date at the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA) in routine tests to RAL-UZ 122: around 60% of the printers passed the tests.
The results of the UFP measurements were not consistent: some printers emitted only small quantities of UFPs, others large quantities. In addition, some printers emitted substances for the entire duration of printing, whereas others produced only an initial burst.
The results of the toner studies were consistent with those of the routine tests.
The measurements in real offices yielded very low dust quantities (< 20 µg/m³). The toner dust component in all tests constituted a few percent. The value could only be estimated, since in all tests the quantities found lay below the limits of quantitation.

Last Update:

18 Oct 2012


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)


Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


indoors, interior

Description, key words:

laser printers, toner, emissions, testing, RAL-UZ 122