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November 15, 2023

NIOSH Report on Approaches to 3D Printing Includes Recommendations for Controls to Protect Users in Makerspaces, Schools, Libraries, and Small Businesses

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On November 8, 2023, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a report entitled Approaches to safe 3D printing: a guide for makerspace users, schools, libraries, and small businesses. According to NIOSH, use of three-dimensional (3D) printing technology is becoming a prominent part of the modern world. NIOSH notes that some 3D printer users have expressed concerns about potential exposures to ultrafine particles, chemicals, and safety hazards, however. NIOSH states that these printers are often used in non-industrial workplace settings such as makerspaces, schools, libraries, and small businesses. Based on these concerns, NIOSH began evaluating emissions from different printer and filament combinations operating in both chamber studies and workplace environments to understand the potential health and safety risks. The report summarizes NIOSH’s findings and includes recommendations for controls to protect workers using 3D printers in makerspaces, schools, libraries, and small businesses.