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Printers are staples of corporate and home offices, even in the age of Instagram. If you own a printer, changing its ink cartridges is part of its maintenance requirements. But while doing this, it is very easy for you to spill some ink on yourself.

And although it is very possible to clean up this mess no matter how stubborn the stain is, one may obviously wonder – is printer ink toxic? What happens when it gets into contact with your skin? Or, what if your child or pet accidentally drinks it?

In this article, we are going to analyze whether printer ink is toxic or not. Let’s start by looking at the ingredients found in toner cartridges.

Quick Video Overview

Common questions this video will address:

  • What Is Inside A Toner Cartridge? 0:50
  • How Harmful And Poisonous Are These Chemicals? 1:21
  • Preventative Safety Measure You Can Take 2:13
  • What To Do If You’ve Been Exposed To Toner Dust 2:57
  • How To Recycle Used Toner Cartridges 3:23
  • Recap On Toner Dust 4:10

What Ingredients Are In Printer Ink?

By familiarising ourselves with the ingredients, we can conclude on the toxicity of printer ink. The common printer inks are made up of alcohol, water, glycol, and ethylene. And, as per these ingredients, we can all agree that printer ink especially the liquid type isn’t toxic. With this being said, that doesn’t mean that if ingested, printer ink can’t make you feel sick (Source).

We have already ruled out liquid ink, but laser printers are equally popular. And it would be only fair if we also looked at the toxicity of the toner that is used instead of ink. With laser printers, it uses a fine powder that melts onto paper. Unlike liquid ink, when a human being or a pet is exposed to the toner in large quantities, the results can be fatal. In small quantities, however, mild irritation may be experienced when it gets into your eyes or mouth (Source).

Depending on which type of printer you use, you should understand the safety measures to take in case of an accident. Note that, there are different manufacturers out there. Therefore the ingredients used may differ. This is why you should confirm what your printer ink contains from the manufacturer. This information is usually available on their website.

The Toxicity Of Printer Ink

Despite being generally considered as safe, the toxicity of printer ink can be compared to that of ordinary dish soap. You definitely shouldn’t inhale, drink, or get it in your eyes. Spilling it on your skin won’t have any effect except for some mild irritation in some cases.

In the case of toner in laser printers, please be informed that ultra-fine toxic particles can be released when the toner melts on paper, they are known as volatile organic-chemical substances. In large doses, they can be harmful. However, the amount of VOC’s produced from a laser printer is far too minimal to be a matter of concern.

This still leads us to the same conclusion. Printer ink is NOT TOXIC. And should it spill on your skin, there should be no cause of alarm because printer ink has not been listed as a carcinogen. Nonetheless, you should handle it carefully. That’s why below we are going to give you some quick tips on how to avoid ink accidents.

How To Avoid Ink Accidents

  1. Strategically place your printer in an open and well-ventilated area. This will minimize the build-up of toxic fumes produced during printing.
  2. Practice proper use and storage of ink and toner cartridges. Keep them out of reach of children.
  3. Instead of disposing of cartridges in your garbage pail, contact your manufacturer about their recycling program.
  4. Use gloves when refilling cartridges. And do it carefully to avoid spilling it on your eyes and mouth.


Summing Up

So, is printer ink toxic? Printer ink is not toxic as long as it is used as intended- the safety data indicates. There is some non-toxic ink you can buy, we should mention. Whether you are using toner or liquid link, you guarantee the safety and those near you. The reason for this is that printer ink is made under stringent guidelines. The only drawback of printer ink is that it can cause irritation or illness when it comes in contact with the mouth, nose, and eyes. The above tips will help you prevent accidents that can lead to the consumption or inhalation of printer ink. It’s also wise to confirm the ingredients in your printer ink from your manufacturer before purchase.


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