Background Three-dimensional (3D) printers are used in various industrial sectors, the potential exposure and health risks are still little understood. This study aimed to measure the emissions of nanoparticles during fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printing with different filler materials and to estimate the deposition of nanoparticles at the different sites of respiratory tracts.
Methods Airborne particles including nano size were measured before, during, and after 3D printing in an exposure chamber with different type of filler materials (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polylactic acid (PLA)) use. Nanoparticles were measured with a SMPS and OPS. After merging the airborne concentration data (#/cc), emission rate (#/min), inhalation dose (#/kg bw/day) were calculated and the deposition dose (#/kg bw/day) by head airway (HA) region, tracheobronchial (TB) region and alveolar region were estimated using ICRP model.
Results The particle concentration of 3 D printing using ABS material was 33−38 times higher than when PLA materials were used. The emissions rates, inhaled dose and deposited dose were 1.61 × 1010 ea/min, 3.26 × 1011 ea/kgbw/day and 1.8 × 1011 ea/kgbw/day, respectively, with the ABS cartridge and 4.27−4.89 × 108 ea/min, 0.7 ∼ 1.6×1010 ea/kgbw/day, 2.3 ∼ 4.3 × 109 ea/kgbw/day, respectively, with the PLA cartridge. Over 99% of inhaled particle were PM0.011-0.1 with the number metric but most of them were PM 0.1–1.0 with mass metric. More than 65–66% of particles inhaled were deposited in AL region, and 11 ∼ 21% in TB region and 13 ∼ 23% in HA region.
Conclusion We confirmed that nanoparticles were emitted during 3D printing and varied by filler materials. ABS filler material emitted much higher nano particles and could give more health risk. Also we found that considerable amounts of nanoparticles were deposited at the d different respiratory tracts according to the filler materials and concentration metrics.