Are ABS fumes harmful?
Yes, ABS fume is toxic when heated. In extreme circumstances, ABS fumes cause:
- Strong odor
- Skin irritation
- Respiratory irritation
- Thermal burns
According to MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), "The ABS is not expected to be an inhalation hazard under normal processing conditions. However, if the material is processed under prolonged exposure to flame or high temperature, the fume produced can be toxic to humans on a short-term basis. Long term effect still requires more data and study"
It's always a good idea to operate 3D printers in a well-ventilated area dedicated to this type of work.
ABS Hazards Safety Guide
Always wear proper safety gear before interacting with potentially harmful materials.
Carcinogenicity - Under normal processing conditions, ABS contains no toxic chemicals
Inhalation - No hazard under normal processing conditions (No degradation when overheated)
Fumes - Fume can cause respiratory track irritation and other problems listed above if overexposed (Some individuals with respiratory impairments may be affected more than others)
Fire - Toxic gasses and aerosols are generated by thermal decomposition and combustion
How Does ABS Fume Smell Like?
ABS filament (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is a petroleum-based material (Oil-based). The fume smells like burnt plastic.
Best Way to Minimize & Ventilate 3D Printer Smells
- Perform 3D printing task in a well ventilated room with safety equipments around
- Never do this in a room because you have no other options (Such as small apartments)
- Install air and carbon filters
- Look for printers with built in air filters to reduce contact with toxic gasses
- Use air quality monitor to detect toxic air in your working space
What To Do When Exposed To ABS Fume?
If inhaled - Immediately get fresh air. Seek medical attention if having difficulty breathing
Skin contact - Using cold running water on the affected area. Seek medical attention if burnt ABS make contact with skin
Eye - Immediately rinse with water for 15 mins or more, and seek medical attention if irritation develops
Fire - Have self-contained breathing apparatus in place, and fight the fire with dry extinguisher, water or foam