Health impact of VOCs, ultrafine particles, ozone and many air pollutants from hardcopy devices

Indoor Air Cartoon Journal, January 2020, Volume 3, #92.

According to the World Health Organisation, cardiovascular disease is the number one leading cause of death globally, and it claims an estimated 17.9 million lives every year. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ultrafine particles, ozone are major air pollutants associated with the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is a heart-lung related disease. Examples of cardiovascular diseases are congenital heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, pulmonary vascular disease, etc.

Evidence in the literature suggests hardcopy devices, e.g., printers, photocopy machines, generate a significant amount of VOCs, particulate matters (PM2.5, PM10), ozone, and many other pollutants such ammonia, lead, sulphur dioxide, arsenic, etc. Some of the VOCs are very volatile, and others are semi-volatile than usual. The pollutants are reported in the literature to be associated with several cardiovascular diseases known in the medical field.

This understanding led to the question, do people working in the hardcopy devices business sector at the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease? The hypothesis is exposure to a high concentration of VOCs, ultrafine particles, ozone, and many pollutants generated from hardcopy devices and the occupational vulnerability of workers exposed regularly will increase their risk of cardiovascular disease occurrence.

After reviewing the literature, evidence supports an association between air pollutants, especially VOCs, particulate matters, and ozone, and the risk of cardiovascular disease occurrence. The higher the exposure to the air pollutants, especially if above the recommended limits, the high the oxidative stress and systemic inflammation known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease occurrence.

Low building ventilation rate and poor air cleaning or filtration can further increase the risk of cardiovascular disease occurrence because they lead to the high resident time and concentration of air pollutants when generated into indoor air.

The question to ponder is, how can the emission of air pollutants be effectively reduced? What can be done to effectively reduce exposure of workers working in the hardcopy device business sector? The understanding and provision of solutions to reduce or eliminate the hazard (air pollutant emission) and vulnerability (exposure) will not only benefit people in the hardcopy devices business sector, but it will also benefit people using the hardcopy devices in offices or homes.

92. Hardcopy devices_92

Do you want to know more about this topic? Read Elango et al. (2013), Salthammer et al. (2012), and Sarkhosh et al. (2012) papers.

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