Inventions that make our lives easier in the office can trigger health problems with the continued exposure of these devices to the atmosphere. Many photocopiers use a method called xerography that delivers a positive electrical charge to the drum within the unit that imprints the image on the drum. Paper is then passed through the drum to produce an image. The method produces heat, discharges particles into the air and releases ultraviolet radiation to the surrounding atmosphere.


Photocopiers release ozone into the air, which is the key reason that you should not be seated next to a photocopier at work. Adding the activated carbon filter to the exhaust manifold in the copier can trap ozone before it reaches the office, but careful maintenance of the filter is important to minimize ozone levels. Ozone gives off a distinct scent that you might remember if you’ve ever been in a storm of lightning. High levels of ozone and continued exposure can cause eye and respiratory irritation.


According to a study released by the North Carolina Department of Labor, copying machines may lead to indoor air pollution. Contaminants include methyl alcohol from spirit duplicators, ammonia and acetic acid from blueprint copiers and ozone from photocopiers. Powder from the toner used in the dry copying machine will escape from the copying machine and enter the air. These pollutants can cause complications for healthy people and can be extremely dangerous to people with respiratory problems. The most frequent symptoms are coughing and sneezing. Any toners have carcinogenic properties that may adversely affect your health.

Ultraviolet light

During the copying process, both visible and ultraviolet light emits a photocopier from the torch. In most cases, ultraviolet radiation does not reach past the glass plate in the copier. Closing the cover when making copies decreases the chance of ultraviolet light emission. Though not considered dangerous, ultraviolet light emitted from machines can cause eye strain if you continuously look at the light while making copies.

Ventilation and Noise

The use of a dedicated copy room with proper ventilation decreases the amount of pollutants in the air and increases indoor air quality. Copiers create noise which may boost the temperature of the room, which can increase the tension on surrounding staff. You should stop seating next to a copier where necessary. Don’t put the copiers in a carpeted room, so the dust and contaminants get stuck in the fabrics. Use the HEPA air filter or exhaust device to eliminate pollutants from the air and provide enough room around the unit to ensure sufficient heat dissipation.

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