Side Effects of Copy Machine Fumes

Updated February 21, 2017

The photocopier equipment commonly used in businesses worldwide can emit fumes and particles that cause unpleasant respiratory symptoms in workers. These toxins range from ozone to the carbon used in the ink.


Different types of copiers emit different harmful compounds, according to Aerias Air Quality Sciences. Blueprint copiers, for instance, irritate the eyes and throat by giving off ammonia fumes. Standard “dry process” copiers release carbon back, ozone, styrene and many other contaminants.


Ozone and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during the copying process can cause eye, throat or nasal irritation, lung problems and headaches as part of what Aerias calls “Sick Building Syndrome.” Some of these compounds also cause a skin rash known as contact dermatitis.

Minimising Strategies

To minimise ozone emissions, businesses should choose copiers that feature lower operating temperatures and a built-in ozone filter. Positioning copiers in a well-ventilated area, no more than 10 feet away from vents, and giving operators frequent breaks can reduce side effects from other chemicals as well.

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