If you have ever spilled the toner from a photocopier or laser printer cartridge, you will
know what an awful mess it can make. But more than the mess, the tiny particles of toner can
be a hazard to your health, becoming released into the air that you breathe. Although a spill
like this may not happen often, it's important to know how to clean up safely when it does.
Toner is made of extremely fine plastic particles that can be easily dispersed in the air. While
most toners are considered a nuisance dust, the particles may be a respiratory irritant which may
aggravate existing lung conditions. Toners may also be an eye irritant. It is best to avoid using
a standard vacuum cleaner to clean up spills as a vacuum without the appropriate high-efficiency
particulate air (HEPA) filter will cause the particles to become airborne.
While rare, it is also important to use a specialized vacuum to prevent the build-up of static
electricity, which may result in an explosion.
In addition, since toner particles are designed to fuse to paper when heated, always use cold water
to clean up the mess. Do not use water or a cleaning product that is physically warm or hot. Hot
water can also fuse the toner to your skin, clothing, or anything else that it touches.
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