The company I work for has been using recycled toner cartridges which are of an inferior quality - the cartridges are not properly secured, and they leak toner dust, which exits during the printing process from the vent in the back of the printer.
It is detectably smelly, and it just got me wondering, is there a health hazard associated with this stuff?
Or more to the point, “Toner powder” MSDS
The composition varies by manufacturer. Most are finely divided plastic which presents an inhalation or dust hazard, but non-toxic and non-carcingenic. Check the safety data sheet for the specific types that you work with, in order to be sure.
Are you sure it’s toner you smell. When you say it exits out the back vents, do you see toner on the wall behind the copier? Otherwise it could be what danvanf said, ozone. If’t it’s ozone it’ll smell like static electricity in the air.
Wow - I appreciate all the responses. No, I’m pretty sure it’s not ozone, but the toner, because it’s a bizarre almost-metallic odor, and I’m not the only one who notices, and the odor only began to appear when they began using the recycled cartridges. I feel better at least knowing that it’s probably nothing to worry about. I wonder, can I get the toner ingredients from the box? I’d simply need to go to IS and get one.
Toner is basically a pigmented waxy plastic powder with very tiny glass beads mixed in. The beads help the toner distribute easily and uniformly. Once the image has been created on the paper, heated rollers melt the plastic powder with the pigment into the paper. It’s the pigment that’s most likely to be toxic, but if it were, it would have to be labelled as such.
If it’s toner coming out of the machine, then it would settle on surfaces; is there any evidence of this?
It’s difficult to describe the smell of ozone; the best approximation I have found is that it is reminiscent of the smell of fresh laundered cotton being ironed (which may well release ozone, for all I know).
The difference of smell between recycled and ordinary cartridges may also be explainable if the printer is of the type where the drum and heater element are also replaced along with the toner reservoir.