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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The use of 3D printing technologies by industry and consumers is expanding. However, the approaches to assess the risk of lung carcinogenesis from the emissions of 3D printers have not yet been developed.

    The objective of the study was to demonstrate a methodology for modeling lung cancer risk related to specific exposure levels as derived from an experimental study of 3D printer emissions for various types of filaments (ABS, PLA, and PETG).

    The emissions of 15 filaments were assessed at varying extrusion temperatures for a total of 23 conditions in a Class 1,000 cleanroom following procedures described by ANSI/CAN/UL 2904. Three approaches were utilized for cancer risk estimation: (a) calculation based on PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations, (b) a proximity assessment based on the pulmonary deposition fraction, and (c) modeling based on the mass‐weighted aerodynamic diameter of particles.

    The combined distribution of emitted particles had the mass median aerodynamic diameter (MMAD) of 0.35 μm, GSD 2.25. The average concentration of PM2.5 was 25.21 μg/m3. The spline‐based function of aerodynamic diameter allowed us to reconstruct the carcinogenic potential of seven types of fine and ultrafine particles (crystalline silica, fine TiO2, ultrafine TiO2, ambient PM2.5 and PM10, diesel particulates, and carbon nanotubes) with a correlation of 0.999, P < 0.00001. The central tendency estimation of lung cancer risk for 3D printer emissions was found at the level of 14.74 cases per 10,000 workers in a typical exposure scenario (average cumulative exposure of 0.3 mg/m3– years), with the lowest risks for PLA filaments, and the highest for PETG type.

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