3D printers can be toxic

Zortrax Inventure 3D printerA report by scientists at the University of California, Riverside said parts produced by some commercial 3D printers are toxic.

The scientists tested two common types of 3D printers – ones that melt plastic to build parts and others that use light to turn liquids into solid parts.

The scientists said that parts from both types of printers were “measurably toxic to zebrafish embryos”. Parts from liquid based printers were the most toxic.

William Grover, an assistant professor of bioengineering said: “These 3D printers like tiny factories in a box. We regulate factories. We would never bring one into our home. Yet we are starting to bring these 3D printers into our homes like they are toasters.”

The value of 3D printers will be $16.2 billion by 2019 and prices of 3D printers are being to drop.

The dicovery of the toxicity was an accident because a student in Grover’s laboratory is making tools for studying zebrafish embryos and she wanted to use a 3D printer. But she noticed that zebrafish embryos die after exposure.