There are millions of laser printers or multi-function devices with a laser printing function in German offices and homes. The public discussion about the possible dangers to health caused by the pollutants emitted by these devices has not gone away over the years. BAM is developing testing procedures to measure the emission of pollutants by these devices. The goal is to achieve low-emission products and healthy ambient air.
BAM is further developing the "Blue Angel" guidelines
Low-emission devices receive the "Blue Angel", the German government's eco-label for the protection of people and the environment that is recognised nationally and internationally. The guidelines for the award of the voluntary eco-label have also been modified and further developed by BAM for many years.
The Blue Angel helps consumers make purchasing decisions and gives manufacturers an important motivation for product improvements. Since 2013, the Blue Angel has also considered the emission of very small particles in the case of laser printing devices. BAM scientists were given a work order concerning this from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety as part of their Environmental Research Plan (UFOPLAN).
The researchers were developing a method for testing, analysing the chemical and physical properties of emitted particles and investigating laser printing devices under controlled conditions in emissions measuring chambers. The results are taken into consideration in the current version of the award criteria for the Blue Angel. Since January 2013, devices only receive the "Blue Angel" if they comply with the strict requirements concerning particle emissions.
Standards for healthy indoor air
"Outside air is clearly regulated with limits," says Dr. Oliver Jann, Head of the Materials and Air Pollutants Division at BAM. "Indoors, in offices and private rooms, this is not yet the case, since these are counted as part of the private sphere," he continues. BAM is currently supporting politicians in the development of national and international norms to protect against harmful emissions and immissions in indoor air. To this end, BAM is developing new methods for testing and emissions limits that are used by recognised testing institutes around the world. In addition, BAM offers comparative trials – known as ring trials – that are considered to be a quality management tool for testing institutes around the world.