Newspaper Printing And Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution created by printing newspapers can be eliminated and clean air achieved with fume extraction systems.

Indoor air pollution created by printing newspapers

No one would argue that the advent of online news publications has caused a steep decline in the circulation of print newspapers. And yet, newspapers are still found everywhere. From barbershops to convenience stores and newsstands to supermarket checkout counters, newspapers – both broadsheets and tabloids – abound.

Print remains a vital part of newspapers’ distribution picture, despite the drastic drop in readership. Statistics from 2015 show that print media made up 78% of weekday and 86% of Sunday distribution among US subscribers. (1)
As long as people still read printed newspapers, presses will keep running.

The printing process in America has come a long way since the first colonial newspapers were published in the early 18th century. Today, modern newspapers are printed by way of lithographic, flexographic, gravure, letterpress, screen, and digital means. Though different in their technologies, all but digital printing involve transferring ink to a substrate, such as paper.

Printing newspapers is manual in nature, requiring both workers and machines to create the physical product. Chemicals found in inks, adhesives, and solvents used during the course of manufacturing print newspapers can create indoor air pollution. This results in occupational health risks for workers.

Without proper abatement equipment, toxic substances, in the form of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), are routinely emitted into the air and into a worker’s breathing space. (2)

The EPA warns that exposure to VOCs can cause any or all of the following symptoms (3):

   • loss of coordination
   • damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system
   • eye, nose, and throat discomfort
   • headache
   • allergic skin reaction
   • nausea
   • fatigue
   • dizziness, memory impairment

In addition, some studies suggest that press workers suffer a higher rate of emphysema as compared to many other trades (4).

As with all pollutants, negative health effects will vary depending on many factors including level of contact and length of time exposed.

Indoor air pollution removal systems are recommended to capture and eliminate toxic fumes emitted from inks and adhesives during the printing process. (5) The environmental controls employed should include ventilation and airflow management as well as the use of specialized equipment to capture and absorb fumes and mists ensuring that workers have clean air to breathe.

At AIRSInc, we serve our customers in the newspaper printing industry who wish to protect their press operators by providing indoor air quality management solutions in addition to stellar IAQ products. Our fume extraction systems promote clean air and a safe place to work. Contact us today for a free air quality assessment with one of our skilled and experienced indoor environmental specialists.