The popularity of 3-D printers is soaring. But how safe are they? Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, found that parts of materials produced by common commercial 3-D printers – including the one that melts plastic to build a part, and another that uses light to turn a liquid into a solid part – were toxic to zebrafish embryos. Of the two, the parts from the liquid-based printer were significantly more toxic. When exposed to toxic parts, the embryos’ survival rate reduced. However, exposing the toxic parts to ultraviolet light for an hour reduced the toxicity. The researchers now wish to find out how harmful the 3-D printer parts are for humans. The research findings have raised questions about how safe is using a 3-D printer as well as how the waste from 3-D printers should be disposed.
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