12/7/2015 | 1 MINUTE READ

Partnership to Conduct Air Quality Research on 3D Printing Technology

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The project seeks to define measurement and evaluation methodologies for 3D printer emissions and assess potential health hazards.


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UL, a global safety science organization, has announced partnerships with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health to study the impact of 3D printing on indoor air quality. The research is designed to scientifically characterize chemical and particle emissions of 3D printing technologies and to evaluate their potential impact on human health. Expected outcomes of the research include scientific characterization of the emissions, establishment of defined methodologies for analytical measurement, and assessment of human exposure risks. The project is expected to be completed in 2016.

This study is one of multiple initiatives by Underwriters Laboratories, a not-for-profit organization within the UL family of companies that is dedicated to evaluating the impact of indoor pollution sources on human health and enabling steps toward achieving safe living, working and learning environments.

The two-year research project is being conducted in two phases. The first phase, which is being led by Rodney Weber, professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Tech, is in the process of defining the appropriate analytical measurement and risk evaluation methodologies for characterizing and assessing particle and chemical emissions from 3D printing technologies.

The second phase, conducted by The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory, will assess potential health hazards from exposure to the emissions. The risk assessment studies with Emory University are expected to begin in 2016.

“Our 3D printing research underscores the critical convergence of chemical, environmental and human health safety, expanding the safety paradigm beyond the exploration of traditional fire, shock and casualty criteria,” said Dr. Marilyn Black, vice president and senior technical advisor, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. “This study is part of UL Inc.’s commitment to share knowledge that helps make products safer to operate, safer for the environment and safer for societal health and well-being.”