Occupational Asthma Reference

Chan FL, House R, Kudla I, Lipszyc JC, Rajaram N, Tarlo, SM, Health survey of employees regularly using 3D printers, Occup Med, 2018;68:207-210,doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kqy039

Keywords: Canada, 3D printer, questionnaire, OA, OR, ep,cross-section, nylon. ABS, polyacetic acid

Known Authors

Susan Tarlo, Toronto Susan Tarlo

Lidwien Smit, Utrecht University Lidwien Smit

Julia Smedley, Southampton University Hospital Julia Smedley

Trevor Smith, Cheshire Trevor Smith

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3D printers emit potentially hazardous ultrafine particles and volatile organic compounds. Workers using 3D printing technologies may be at risk of respiratory illness from occupational exposure.

To assess whether 3D printing is associated with health effects in occupational users.

This was a preliminary survey. Workers in 17 companies using 3D printing, including commercial prototyping businesses, educational institutions and public libraries, in the Greater Toronto Area, Canada, were asked to complete survey questionnaires concerning demographic, occupational and health information. Associations between self-reported health history variables and occupational characteristics were examined by chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests.

Among 46 surveyed workers, 27 (59% of participants) reported having respiratory symptoms at least once per week in the past year. Working more than 40 h per week with 3D printers was significantly associated with having been given a respiratory-related diagnosis (asthma or allergic rhinitis) (P < 0.05). We observed a wide variation in occupational hygiene practices in the 17 printing workplaces that we surveyed.

Our finding of frequently reported respiratory symptoms suggests a need for additional studies on exposed workers in this field.

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