Tuesday, July 31, 2007
It's Dangerous to Be a Working Mother
I've worked in an office environment for more than two decades. What we do hasn't changed much over the years, the job has its basic requirements and objectives, but how we do it has changed greatly due to newer and better technology finding its way into the office routine. When I first started there were state forms we had to file in triplicate. These were typed on triple forms with layers of carbon between. In this day and age of online PDF forms and Microsoft Word, carbon paper seems messy and prone to mistakes. It was.
Over the years, I have often joked that one day they will determine that the green light inside the copy machine causes cancer. Imagine my suprise when I read today that a new study suggests that the dust particles from laser printers are as hazardous to your lungs as cigarette smoke!
According to this article at the American Chemical Society website, a study conducted by Australian scientists concluded that office workers are regularly exposed to pollution in the form of ultrafine dust particles from the toner cartridge. These ultrafine particles are easily inhaled into the deepest airways of the lungs. Larger particles also pose a health threat as they carry more toxins.
The study finally motivated me to do a little research on photocopiers. Sure enough, there's a warning about the green light, but only to keep the lid down so you won't burn or irritate your eyes. The real dangers from photocopiers come in the form of toxins like decane (carcinogenic), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (can cause skin irritation), iso-octane, toluene (causes fatigue, drowsiness, throat and eye irritation, xylene (can cause menstrual disorder and kidney failure) and benzene (carcinogenic and teratogenic). Oh and did I mention nitrogen oxide, selenium, carbon monoxide and ozone?
Add to the list such occupational hazards as carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive typing, back problems and deep vein thrombosis from poor ergonomics, as well as obesity from being sedentary and you can say goodbye to the idea of a nice, cushy desk-job.