Keep Laser Printers Far Away

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Keep Laser Printers Far Away

Most people don't realize that laser printers are harmful to your health.

"Huh?  Laser printers?  Harmful?"

Yep.  Sadly, they are.  If you've ever changed the toner cartridge on your laser printer, you're probably already familiar with that fine black dust that can occasionally get on your fingers (and your hands, and your clothes, and your desk, and inside the laser printer, etc).  The problem is that's just the black dust dense enough for you to actually see.  There's a ton of that black crap floating around in the air that you can't see.  Where do you think this invisible stuff ends up?

In your lungs.

Every time any part of the laser printer moves or makes a noise, including:

1. When it makes noise on its own to calibrate itself.

2. When it prints.

3. When you change toner cartridges

4. Etc.

...this particulate gets into the air, and into your lungs.  Ray Kurzweil has stated clearly that every time you are near a laser printer when it makes noise it's the equivalent of taking a drag on a cigarette.  That's how much of that toner ends up in your lungs.  Very few printer manufactures or IT guys are going to tell you this (or even know about this).

There solution is twofold:

1. Forget paper and go paperless in your office like I did.  Even if you end up having to keep the laser printer afterwards, you'll be printing on it far less.

2. Move your laser printer far, far away from you.  As in another room.

I'm paperless, but I have to keep the stupid laser printer around for unusual events like if someone wants a hard copy invoice, or the government wants a form, or if I have to send real snail mail somewhere.  These are unusual occurrences but they do occasionally happen.

So because one of my over-arching life goals is to live a very, very long time, about a year ago I moved the clunky thing out of my office and into another room down the hallway.  Because I'm 99% paperless in my office, I have never missed it, and now I'm not doing the equivalent of smoking a cigarette every time I print something (I don't smoke...cigarettes or printer toner).

If for some reason you just absolutely positively can't or won't go paperless, you should still move that laser printer as far away from you as possible, ideally in a different room.  Not only is it better for your health, it's great for your time management because having it farther away will force you to start batching your print jobs.  You should "batch" all of your tasks.  Batch your phone calls, batch your printing, batch your email responses, etc.  You'll get far more done in less time.

So stop breathing that toner.  It's bad juju.

This article was originally published on February 13, 2012