ETIRA Secretary-General Vincent van Dijk, proponent of the study, said "People need to know what cartridges they are buying and the risks involved."
Report Shows New-Built Cartridges have more Health Concerns.
Once again, cheap, new-built toner cartridges purchased off the internet has been found to present serious health concerns. These cartridges have been manufactured with toner that emits unacceptable levels of benzene, cobalt and naphthalene.
Of the new-built cartridges tested, all of them failed. Locally-remanufactured cartridges were also tested and all received passing grades.
The study was undertaken by the European Toner and Inkjet Remanufacturers Association (ETIRA), and involved purchases of new-built cartridges off Amazon. Last year, ETIRA tested the plastic used in new-built cartridge shells, and found high levels of the carcinogen DecaBDE. "It is important that we keep monitoring these cartridges," ETIRA Secretary-General Vincent van Dijk. "People need to know what they are buying and the risks involved."
Benzene, detected at levels as high as 157 percent above acceptable levels, enters the airways and may cause genetic defects, cancer or damage to organs over prolonged exposure. Cobalt may cause allergy and asthma symptoms, or breathing difficulties if inhaled. Naphthalene detected in amounts as high as 650 percent above the LGA acceptable threshold, is suspected of causing cancer. (See the full report from ETIRA.)
In order for toner to reach its melting point, it is routinely heated to up to 356 degrees to complete the printing process. Therefore, the contaminants in the toner are emitted in the electrophotographic process and out into the office or home environment through the printer vents.
New-built cartridges are built as cheaply as possible in order to be sold at such low prices, at fractions of the price of new or locally remanufactured. However, as EITRA's studies prove, they could be costing their users much, much more in the way of exposure to health risks. In addition, these cartridge manufacturers often cut corners on quality and legality, since they often infringe OEM patents.
The International Imaging Technology Council (Int'l ITC) is working in North America to monitor these issues and work with government and consumer watchdog groups, just as ETIRA does in Europe. With government now involved deeply in making our workplaces safe, this issue needs more attention too. These products are bad for public health, for commerce and for the environment.
The test was conducted by LGA/TÜV Rheinland, a global leader in independent inspection services, founded 145 years ago. The study undertaken by ETIRA involved purchases of eight new-built cartridges off Amazon. "We purchased the first three cartridges that popped up on the site, and other members purchased five more, and all were sent directly to the testing site" said ETIRA Secretary-General Vincent van Dijk. "Out of the eight we randomly selected, all eight failed to pass the test."
"The results are very frustrating and disappointing," Van Dijk said. "You buy the first three products that pop up, they fail. It's very telling. These products have been on the market a long time now." ETIRA and the Int'l ITC is calling upon the authorities to address this problem. However, the importers and sellers of these products need to be held accountable also. Product safety needs to become more important than the price.