Is Printer Toner Toxic?

Is Printer Toner Toxic?

December 6, 2017

We get a lot of questions about printers, copiers and other office supplies at our printer outlet in Phoenix, AZ. People want to know about features, brands, costs and more, to make sure they’re choosing equipment that’s right for their office and their needs. Occasionally, however, we get questions that transcend these different variables to focus on something bigger.

One of the most frequent overarching questions we get is a very simple one: “Is printer toner toxic?” Customers who work in hectic office environments where toner is changed weekly are often concerned, since they’re likely to be the ones handling these products. Moreover, broken cartridges are not uncommon, which can lead to questions about the safety of the toner within.

Let’s set the record straight. No, printer toner is not toxic. In fact, it has an extremely low toxicity level, which the EPA has deemed safe for regular handling and use by individuals. There’s no reason to fear your toner!

EPA Testing

There’s actually a lot of evidence to support the non-toxicity of toner. In the late 1980s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ran a series of tests on commercial-grade toners. They subsequently found that irritation to skin and eyes was very low. And, in the event of irritation or a reaction, side effects dissipated quickly with no lasting harm.

As for inhalation of toner materials, danger was proven to be negligible as well. The EPA exposed lab rats to controlled airborne toner particles at 10, 30 and 50 times manufacturing levels. Only rats exposed to the 50 times levels showed any side effects, which presented as increased lung density that cleared up after several weeks.

The conclusion of the EPA and the industry stance today is that commercial toner isn’t toxic and is completely safe.

MSDS Sheets

Still unsure about the toner you use? You can actually request an MSDS sheet from the manufacturer, showing what level of hazard is associated with the chemical makeup of your toner. The MSDS sheet will also tell you what to do in the event of ingestion, eye contamination or allergic reaction to toner, should any of these things ever become an issue.


When it comes to the environment, however, toner isn’t as safe. Millions of toner cartridges wind up in landfills each year—each lacking biodegradability. This means toner cartridges are slowly encroaching on the environment with each passing year. For this reason, it’s recommended for offices to recycle toner cartridges as they become empty.

Ask Questions!

Asking if toner is toxic may seem like a silly question, but it’s something many people are unfamiliar with. Asking questions to learn more about these products is a smart way to keep yourself educated in using them properly.

If you have questions about toner or other printing products, bring them to a printer outlet in Phoenix, AZ. Our professionals will be happy to answer them for you with expert authority, to provide insight into everything you want to know about the office products you deal with on a daily basis.

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