Are 3D Printing Fumes Bad For You?

It Depends. More nuanced, a greyer question, not so black and white.

Also, how does it determine its value? Various factors influence how long 3D printing takes, such as the type of filament you use, the room you print in, the amount of ventilation, and other factors.

This IS a topic that you can’t ignore if you have a 3D printer. The dangers of fumes associated with 3D printing are seldom mentioned in the discussion of this fun hobby.

How Are 3D Printer Fumes Created?

While the filament/plastic is getting heated on a 3D printer, fumes are produced due to the extruder. However, some plastics give off harmful fumes. Some are deadly, while others are not. 

Taking a closer look at the fumes that are present is the first step. After we have identified the most effective method to eliminate the problem, we will move on to the next. 

The 2 Dangerous Emissions Of 3D Printers

Toxic Fumes

Plastics that are used for 3D printing generally produce toxic fumes harmful to humans who inhale them. ABS is especially harmful.

As a result of inhaling ABS, skin, eyes and respiratory tracts are irritated. But the irritation doesn’t end there. It is more likely that you will suffer nausea or a headache if you inhale these fumes.

The big deal may seem confusing to you. A little skin irritation here and there doesn’t scare me, why do you ask? You can’t scare us anymore!

However, the effects can be even worse. Research has shown that ABS may cause severe health problems, including cancer of the bone marrow and blood.

Additionally, PETG and nylon are dangerous plastics. When they are heated in the nozzle, they release an organic compound known as caprolactam. 

Although PETG and nylon don’t cause cancer, they do irritate the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. In addition, caprolactam causes headaches, irritability, and confusion. It can also peel your skin off after prolonged exposure. 

Are all 3D printing filaments out to make your eyes itchy, your head ache, and make life hell? We are fortunate that there is plastic that is quite innocent and is not harmful at all. PLA filament is one such material.

Maize and sugarcane are the primary ingredients in PLA. As a result of printing, lactide is produced, which is non-toxic to humans. Lactide is also biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

If your health is a concern, it is highly recommended that you use PLA for 3D printing. 

We want to give you a word of warning before we get all warm and fuzzy about PLA. Before you buy PLA, make sure you use a quality brand. PLA can be colored by adding various additives, or its properties can be enhanced by adding additives. Many of these materials release toxic fumes when combined with other materials. 

Another poisonous plastic is resin, which emits toxic fumes. It causes nasal, throat, and lung irritation and inflammation when inhaled. If inhaled in large amounts, asthma can occur. 

Nanoparticle Emission

When using a 3D printer, fumes aren’t the only issue. Additionally, nanoparticle emissions cause problems or ultrafine particles (UFP).

Plastic melts during melting, which releases UFPs of less than 0.01 micron into the atmosphere and into your lungs. After entering your bloodstream, they permanently stay there.

After all, such a tiny particle shouldn’t cause too much harm, right?

Asthma and bronchitis can be caused by them in mild cases. Cancer can be caused in extreme cases.

This is still primarily due to ABS. The study found that ABS plastic emits particles at a rate of up to 200 billion per minute. 

At this point, ABS is pretty safe when it is unheated. The chemical composition of the product changes upon heating so that it differs from its original composition. 

A similar amount of harmful nanoparticles is released into the atmosphere by PETG and nylon.

A Note on Resin

It is dangerous to handle resin before it has cured. There are several reasons for this:

  • As a result, the skin can become dry, swollen, red, and irritated. When resin absorbs into the skin, it becomes red and irritated. This causes mild skin reactions. When severe reactions occur, the skin is permanently affected. 
  • In the event that resin is brought into contact with the eyes or mouth, it can cause permanent damage.
  • The environmental impact of resin printing is terrible. Fish and other aquatic life can be affected by it, as well as sometimes killed if it enters their bodies.

How can these risks be mitigated? The following four methods will help you avoid them. 

How To Manage 3D Printing Fumes


Make sure your 3D printer is in a room with adequate ventilation. For a room to contain low levels of toxic fumes, good ventilation is essential.

For a printer in your living room or bedroom, be sure that you can open a window.

A 3D printer had no doubt been placed in the garage because it was the best place. The reasons are as follows. 

If your family is annoying to you and you want to escape them, you will not spend all your waking hours in the garage. The printing process can then take place while you do other things. As the fumes dissipate naturally after printing is complete, the printing process is finished. 

When printing is going on, you can go into the garage if you want to escape your family. Simply keep the garage door open while printing is taking place. Air is allowed to enter the room, so that the fumes can be dissipated into the air. 

It means the person you were running from can enter your garage with ease and spoil the day. This arrangement has one disadvantage. 

Health and sanity of your family. Difficult decision, isn’t it?

Air Extraction

You might also need to purchase air extraction fans if you do not have a garage and your rooms aren’t properly ventilated. 

In addition, if you’re planning to print plastics such as ABS or PETG, you’ll need powerful fans that can exhaust 2-4 times the air in the room within an hour and let fresh air into the room. 

Holmes Dual 8-Inch Blade Twin Window Fans are our top recommendation for the best air extractor. A window fan like this will remove fumes, send clean air into the room, and exchange polluted air for clean air. 

Air Purifier

Another effective method of removing fumes and nanoparticles is to use an air purifier. These machines can remove both fumes and nanoparticles from the air. As well as removing nanoparticles with a HEPA filter, the unit also removes fumes with carbon filters. It is possible for some purifiers to break down odors and chemical vapors with special technology. 

How does air purification compare to air extraction? 

Polluted air is removed from indoors, and fresh air is brought in from outside as part of air extraction. 

A pure air system removes indoor pollutants/contaminants without requiring fresh outdoors air to be recirculated. 

Levoit LV-H133

A great air purifier is the Levoit, especially when it comes to 3D printing. For rooms up to 1076 square feet, the air can be cleaned within 30 minutes. 

You won’t be bothered by it because the noise is ultra-low. Depending on how fast their fans spin, even bad air can be handled. 

  1. Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier

One of the most popular air purifiers is the Winix, which is offered for rooms bigger than 360 square feet. As well as the standard HEPA filter and carbon filter, the Winix has a special technology called PlasmaWave. 

Moisture is charged by a short electric charge resulting in polarity dual ions. Air pollutants are rendered inert by the ions, thus cleaning the air as they remove hydrogen from them. 

  1. VALKIA HEPA Air Purifier

Would you like to purchase an air purifier for a slightly cheaper price that you can trust? VALKIA can help. This air purifier has many of the same functions as the Levoit LV-H133. Only small rooms up to 320 square feet can be accommodated by this system.

HEPA filters are typically designed to remove particles greater than 0.3 microns in size. You might recall that the UFPs are 0.1 microns in size. Consequently, HEPA filters cannot remove all particles. 

It is also important to note that most of the ultrafine particles (0.1-micron UFPs) tend to clump together, thereby causing them to grow larger and making it easier for these filters to filter them out. Although HEPA filters cannot completely remove UFPs from the environment, they are effective in removing a majority of them.

3D Printer Enclosure

If you want an enclosure and an air filter on your printer, that is a great option. 

These two functions are offered by printers such as the Dremel Digilab 3D45 and Sindoh 3DWOX. To prevent UFPs from releasing into the atmosphere, an air filter, as well as an enclosure, are needed.

In addition to keeping dust from getting in, enclosures have other benefits. This increases internal heat, which is beneficial if the filament melts only at high temperatures.

Is there a danger to pets from 3D printing fumes?

It is just as harmful to pets as it is to humans to breathe in ABS and resin fumes.

Pet birds get more easily affected by these fumes, making them even more dangerous.

Don’t just focus on fumes when inspecting your vehicle. Human and animal skin are also vulnerable to problems caused by uncured resin. 

You should keep resin sealed when storing it outdoors in the open. Toxic chemicals might accidentally contaminate your pets, and you wouldn’t want to do that.

Final words

The problem with 3D printing is that it poses a lot of challenges. Getting the most out of CBD entails protecting yourself from any harmful effects. You will not have anything to be afraid of if you follow the precautions outlined, which will allow you to fully enjoy your hobby. 

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