Emission of particulate and gaseous pollutants from household laser processing machine
Indoor air quality (IAQ) directly affects the health of occupants. Household manufacturing equipment (HME) used for hobbies or educational purposes is a new and unexplored source of air pollution. In this study, we evaluated the characteristics of particulate and gaseous pollutants produced by a household laser processing equipment (HLPE). Various target materials were tested using a commercial HLPE under various operating conditions of laser power and sheath air flow rate. The mode diameters of the emitted particles gradually decreased as laser power increased, while the particle number concentration (PNC) and particle emission rate (PER) increased. In addition, as the sheath air flow rate quadrupled from 10 to 40 L/min, the mode diameter of the emitted particles decreased by nearly 25%, but the effect on the PNC was insignificant. When the laser induced the target materials at 53 mW, the mode diameters of particles were <150 nm, and PNCs were >2.0 × 104 particles/cm3. Particularly, analyses of sampled aerosols indicated that harmful substances such as sulfur and barium were present in particles emitted from leather. The carcinogenic gaseous pollutants such as acrylonitrile, acetaldehyde, 1,3-butadiene, benzene, and C8 aromatics (ethylbenzene) were emitted from all target materials. In an actual indoor environment, the PNC of inhalable ultrafine particles (UFPs) was >5 × 104 particles/cm3 during 30 min of HLPE operation. Our results suggest that more meticulous control methods are needed, including the use of less harmful target materials along with filters or adsorbents that prevent emission of pollutants.