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The use of three dimensional (3D) printers is rapidly expanding. This innovative technology can create everything from manufacturing prototypes and biological scaffolds to buildings. The processes using 3D print technology are not without hazards. Toxic volatile chemicals, ultra fine (nano) particles and even biological contaminants may be generated depending on the equipment and applications.

The most common desktop 3D printers use molten polymers, either acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or polylactic acid (PLA), as the filament ink. Both of these materials emit numerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs), many of them toxic. In addition to VOCs, the printing process generates nano particles which pose a respiratory hazard.

More novel applications involve the printing of biological scaffolds used to generate organs and other structures. The use of biological materials may require Institutional BioSafety committee approval and protocols to disinfect equipment.

Control measures to reduce the hazards associated with 3D printing include:
  • A complete risk assessment
  • Use of manufacturer’s recommended controls
  • Proper ventilation of the area, plus local exhaust ventilation if necessary
  • Use of low emission printer and material if possible
  • Enclosure of the printer
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including respirators if indicated by the risk assessment
Additional information on 3D printer Safety can be found at:

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/research-rounds/resroundsv1n12.html
https://www.graphicproducts.com/articles/3d-printing-hazards
Entertaining and celebrating with family and friends is what the holiday season is all about.

This year, take some time to learn about potential fire hazards related to Christmas trees, cooking, candles, decorations, electrical cords, and heating devices.

Keep your holiday parties safe with these U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) tips:
  • Test your smoke alarms and tell your guests about your home fire escape plan.
  • Fill the tree stand with water every day. 
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking at high temperatures like frying, grilling or broiling.
  • Ask people who smoke to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them, so young children do not touch them.
  • Keep doorways and exit paths clear of furniture and decorations.

Find more holiday and fire safety information on the USFA Holiday Safety page.
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Construction is booming on campus. New buildings are going up and older spaces are being renovated. This has resulted in a number of laboratories relocating or planning for relocation. Just as moving a home requires advance planning for a smooth transition, moving an active lab involves a coordinated effort to safely and efficiently empty the old space and occupy the new one.

Because some of the materials and equipment in these laboratories are hazardous or regulated, the Department of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) has designed a series of forms and guides to streamline the process. Information can be found here. Please contact us as soon as you know the approximate date of your lab move so that we can assist in the closeout of the lab. It is especially important that radioactive materials, controlled drugs used in research, and chemical and biological hazards be moved according to state and federal requirements. The lab closeout checklist can provide guidance.