Toner Dust

A few months ago my wife mentioned that she had seen something about laser printers letting a lot of toner dust escape. It came up because we have been noticing it at our house. I print several large runs of advertising stuff per month on my Brother MFC 9480 laser printer. I used to have an Okidata 5150 and we noticed it with that one but not as bad.

She noticed it from some black dust at some supply registers. I noticed it more from changing the filters. I kind of dismissed it when she brought it up and thought it might be from candles or something. But she stopped the candle burning lately. Today I changed the filters. These filters were maybe 45 days old. The amount of black dust on them amazed me, I had done some extra printing this month. When you touch it, it definately feels like toner and stains like toner.

Has anyone heard of this or noticed it themselves? I am trying to decide what to do about it. I am not overly concerned about it from a health perspective, though this last set of filters really surprised me. I am concerned about the dirt in the ductwork and house.

I am thinking about redoing my office and putting the printer in an unventilated closet and maybe putting a portable filtration device in there with it. But the unit produces a good deal of heat when working so sticking it in an unvented closet may not be good. So that may not be an option.

I also thought it was interesting and telling of the poor HVAC design of most houses in my area (this house is 8yo) that the dirtier filter is the Downstairs unit. My office and the printer is upstairs. There is a room return vent in the same corner as the printer. You can see on the cleaner filter how one corner is dirtier and that corresponds with where the room return duct ties into the return plenum. But judging by the amount of dust on the downstairs unit most of the air from my office goes out the door and into the downstairs return that happens to be located at the top of the stairs - just outside my door.

Why not put an exhaust fan to the exterior from the room? That was my recommendation when doing fulltime IAQ in the early 90’s.

I used to make toner in a past career. In production we had to wear full face supplied air respirators when we produced toner additives. The mix of chemicals ranges from different acids to cyanide to pure ammonia.

Just think how much of that fine dust get’s in your lungs. It’s nothing that will kill you, in the next few weeks anyhow.


Don’t you ever notice the stink when standing next to the printer after operation? Some nasty stuff comes out of those. I never use mine without opening the window in the room first.

I’d be making some changes after seeing this.:shock:

I like the fan exhaust to the exterior idea.

Well…making changes was sort of the point to the post - after seeing this last batch pf filters.

I like the exhaust fan idea too…I could put it in the closet and vent it out. Power would not be too hard to run. If the hulking piece will fit in the closet - it is a nice quality printer but it is really big.

Keep the suggestions coming!

Frankly, if my printer was kicking that kind of crap into my home it would be in the bin.

I have used a Samsung laser copier for 2 years including some large runs of educational stuff with no leakage.

are you by any chance filling your own toner cartidges?


Good lord, I would be sub-ing the printing OUT that’s for sure—:shock:…man I would not want that $hit in my lungs (or children), that is UNREAL…!!

Kevin good idea on the exhaust fan but make sure to hire a licensed qualified electrican for the power:p:p;-) are you real sure you have not been scooping coal.

Nastiest stuff around. Sticks to everything and gets everywhere. You shouldn’t ever “accidentally” pour any of this stuff down the fresh air vents on their car because when they turn their fan or a/c on, it will blow all over the inside of the car…

No I’m not. I was told upon purchase that these things need some ventilation. You guys have me kind of worried now.:shock:

Don’t you smoke old man?

Not cigarettes—:stuck_out_tongue:

Camels with no humps maybe, but I will not say for sure—:shock:

Regarding any potential health concern, you need to read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that the manufacturer of the toner is required to publish.

Only use OEM replacement parts. Have never refilled a toner cartridge. The room the unit is in is well ventilated. In the time those filters were in, I printed maybe 5000 to 7000 pages. Which is more than a few, but certainly not tens of thousands. Some of them were envelopes, which maybe have more waste toner, but…

I am knowleble of all codes and such, if I decide to install a fan. I daresay I will do a better job than most contractors - licensed or not.

I think I will give Brother a call, will have time over the next couple weeks after I have knee surgery on Tuesday. Maybe there is something wrong with the thing. I cannot see how this could be considered normal or acceptable. Scrapping a $900 printer that works very nicely - well aside from this issue - is not the most attractive idea. But the health of my family and myself is certainly worth more. Regardless of the listed toxicity listed on the sheets, which I cannot say I recall ever seeing with the toner cartridges, it cannot be good for us long term. I also somehow don’t think that I should have to modifiy my freaking house or build a self sufficient ventilate cleanroom to use a simple printer.

Certainly makes perfect sense to me Kevin…exactly…!!!

Good luck with the knee and get well soon.
Brother MSDS