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  • Press Release

UL Partners with Georgia Tech, Emory University to Conduct Indoor Air Quality Research on 3D Printing Technology

November 17, 2015

NORTHBROOK, Ill., Nov. 17, 2015 —UL, a global safety science organization, announced partnerships with Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health to study the impact of 3D printing on indoor air quality. The research is designed to scientifically characterize chemical and particle emissions of 3D printing technologies and to evaluate their potential impact on human health.

Outcomes of the research include scientific characterization of the emissions and establishment of defined methodologies for analytical measurement, and assessment of human exposure risks. The research is expected to be completed in 2016.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc, a not-for-profit organization that is part of the UL family of companies, is investing in independent human health research to provide consumers, manufacturers and policymakers with a greater scientific understanding for identifying and reducing potential health hazards. This study is one of numerous Underwriters Laboratories Inc initiatives dedicated to evaluating the impact of indoor pollution sources on human health and enabling steps toward achieving safe living, working and learning environments.

The two-year research project is being conducted in two phases. The first phase, which is being led by Rodney Weber, Professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Tech, is defining the appropriate analytical measurement and risk evaluation methodologies for characterizing and assessing particle and chemical emissions from 3D printing technologies. The second phase, conducted by The Rollins School of Public Health at Emory, will assess potential health hazards from exposure to the emissions.

“Our 3D printing research underscores the critical convergence of chemical, environmental and human health safety, expanding the safety paradigm beyond the exploration of traditional fire, shock and casualty criteria,” said Dr. Marilyn Black, vice president and senior technical advisor, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. “This study is part of UL Inc.’s commitment to share knowledge that helps make products safer to operate, safer for the environment and safer for societal health and well-being.”

Significant progress has been made by UL Inc  and Georgia Tech thus far in developing the methodology to measure and characterize particle and gaseous emissions from 3D printers. The risk assessment studies with Emory University are expected to begin in 2016.