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3D Printed Objects Found Toxic To Fish Embryos (universityofcalifornia.edu) 108

itwbennett writes: Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have found that the parts of two common types of 3D printers are toxic to zebrafish embryos. The researchers made this discovery accidentally when a graduate student whose work involves developing tools for studying zebrafish embryos "noticed that zebrafish embryos die after exposure to parts from the 3-D printer." According to the report, "While the embryos exposed to parts from the plastic-melting printer had slightly decreased average survival rates compared to control embryos, the embryos exposed to parts from the liquid-resin printer had significantly decreased survival rates, with more than half of the embryos dead by day three and all dead by day seven. And of the few zebrafish embryos that hatched after exposure to parts from the liquid-resin printer, 100 percent of the hatchlings had developmental abnormalities."
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3D Printed Objects Found Toxic To Fish Embryos

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  • Duh! (Score:5, Informative)

    by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Friday November 06, 2015 @12:09PM (#50877315)

    The photopolymer resins are usually UV cured. They contain chemicals that spit out free radicals to initiate polymerization. And you don't get a 100% cure.

    The paranoid in me wore double gloves when handling parts with liquid resin. Newer stuff might be safer. But the stuff I used was gene scrambling goo in my mind.

    • Those liquid resins are harmless unless they're used in 3D printing, hence the headline. Also, non-liquid-resin 3D printing will cause birth defects in pregnant women.

      • "Also, non-liquid-resin 3D printing will cause birth defects in pregnant women."

        What specifically are you referring to here, ABS / PLA filament (FDM) printers and printed parts, or cured photopolymer resin parts?

        Also, citation?

        • I'd also like a citation, but don't think he really needs a citation to warn caution.

          development is super finicky and super-conserved evolutionarily.

          I would imagine it would be the best course for any pregnant women to take extreme care until they do more studying.

          if animal trials are good enough for us to label things carginogens, a 100 percent developmental disability rate should be warning sign enough.

          • I'm looking for two things: clarification of his sentence structure, and more detailed documentation on the birth defects he's talking about - exposure values, developmental windows during exposure, type of defects, as much data as he can cite.

            I have a wife who is seven months pregnant and a 3D printer that mostly runs ABS. You do the math about why I'm digging for detailed info.

            • Re:Duh! (Score:5, Funny)

              by kelemvor4 ( 1980226 ) on Friday November 06, 2015 @02:22PM (#50878675)

              I'm looking for two things: clarification of his sentence structure, and more detailed documentation on the birth defects he's talking about - exposure values, developmental windows during exposure, type of defects, as much data as he can cite.

              I have a wife who is seven months pregnant and a 3D printer that mostly runs ABS. You do the math about why I'm digging for detailed info.

              Keep your parts away from that woman!

            • i'd say go full quarantine on that for the remaining 2 months regardless. If it's a hobby.

              if you're not able to put it on ice for a couple of months, leave it at work, and go full hazmat. gloves, mask, shower, the works.

              brain development continues for like half a decade too. but that should be less risky.

          • So... important safety tip everyone: do not use a 3D-printed dildo while pregnant until further notice ?

        • "3D Printed Objects", obviously. Did you not read the headline?
    • FTFA, She used each printer to create disc-shaped parts, about an inch in diameter. Then she placed the discs in petri dishes with zebrafish embryos and studied survival rates and hatch rates and monitored for developmental abnormalities.

      It doesn't say in TFA, but did the petri dishes have water in them also? That could explain a lot about the fishes survival rates.
      • i'm just going to assume yes since some of them hatched.

        • Well, Riverside is a desert community. It's a mistake that anyone from Riverside could have made.
          • that community name is just cruel then

            • by Khyber ( 864651 )

              Riverside is right next to a fairly decent-sized river in the Jurupa Valley. It is the upstream diversion and such that makes it so that the river isn't constantly a flood plain.

              Lots of gold to find out there. I've gotten plenty from just working black sands directly in the Santa Ana River.

    • I wonder how large the difference is between 3D printer resin and the stuff my dentist uses - especially since the UV exposure time for dental resin seems really short. Mercury amalgam fillings are probably bad for health, but maybe resin fillings aren't a whole lot better.

    • The paranoid in me wore double gloves when handling parts with liquid resin.

      That's not paranoid. Paranoia is an irrational fear. Your concerns are rational. You may be overreacting a little, but that's probably safer than under-reacting. I use double gloves for hydrofluoric acid, but not for general organics.

  • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Friday November 06, 2015 @12:17PM (#50877421)
    3D Fish Tank decor

    http://3dprint.com/61418/3d-pr... [3dprint.com]

    http://www.advancedaquarist.co... [advancedaquarist.com]
  • whoops (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Gotta like it when this stuff is discovered by accident. Do we have safeguards against putting the latest industrial chemical product into contact with millions of people? Seems like we don't.

    • Humans aren't zebra fish, so this doesn't mean that it's toxic to humans. Worth investigating? Yeah, but this alone doesn't mean a whole lot.

      Bt, which is completely harmless to humans, is highly toxic to invertebrates. Or if you want to get closer to home, cocoa is very toxic to some mammals (especially dogs) but not at all toxic to humans.

      The only thing this really says so far is that you probably shouldn't dump anything 3d printed into a freshwater environment that has wild fauna.

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        And Agent Orange only affects trees - Why, I once saw a guy drink a cup full of it in a Vietnam documentary, and it didn't affect him at all!

        / This message brought to you by the Callous Dowboys
        • As you'll note above, I said it is worth investigating, but for the time being there's no evidence that it is harmful to humans.

          And by the way, everything else I've mentioned has been proven safe. Bt has been in use as a pesticide for almost a century now. Chances are you personally have consumed quite a bit of it; at least, if you eat fresh vegetables anyways (organic or otherwise.)

          • people study fruit flies to better understand the mechanisms of human development. if it ain't broke don't fix it, etc. etc.

            what messes with zebra-fish embryos may very well mess with a human embryos. things that have to happen during development regardless of the species, like axonal guidance, body orientaton, segmentation of different areas, differentiation signals. fruit flies need them, zebrafish need them, and we need them, and some are so fundamental that they haven't changed between the sea and us

          • As you'll note above, I said it is worth investigating, but for the time being there's no evidence that it is harmful to humans.

            They liquid form is definitely harmful, according to Formlab material safety sheets (bottom of page) [formlabs.com]. A more interesting question is: what if you wash the object first? After all, the Form 1 printer solidifies the object inside a tank filled with the liquid form, so it'll inevitably end up carrying some for a while after manufacture. So does the harmful effect come from the solid

            • You gotta get into dosages and stuff with that methinks. At a molecular level we're all just heaps of congealed particles rubbing against each other. You touch something, some of you clings to it, some of it clings to you. I wouldn't lick my finger even if its dry at the touch is what I'm saying

      • developmental pathways are highly conserved. I'd be fairly alarmed/concerned about this messing with pregnancies. definitely warrants further study, and highly publicized warnings for pregnant women.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Or if you want to get closer to home, cocoa is very toxic to some mammals (especially dogs) but not at all toxic to humans.

        Actually, the reason is a component of chocolate is toxic to dogs because they can't metabolize it fast enough so it builds up and poisons them. It's call theobromine, and the darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration. It's a mild simulant like caffeine. Humans are generally larger animals so not only do we require more chocolate, our livers are able to process it far faster.

        it

  • Headline fail (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 06, 2015 @12:25PM (#50877491)

    A more accurate headline would be: "Some 3D Printer consumables toxic to certain fish"

    The toxicity is not an attribute of manufacturing process. It's an attribute of the material with which it's manufactured.

    Sensationalized headlines are in poor taste. Slashdot can be much better than this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I mostly take your point but it is still not quite accurate to say the consumables must be to blame. It is possible that the products themselves are to blame when their inputs are not. That is, it could be an attribute of the manufacturing process and not the material.

      Processes can produce carcinogens from non-carcinogens, for example. Trivially, burning does.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Friday November 06, 2015 @12:38PM (#50877619) Homepage

      Sensationalized headlines are in poor taste. Slashdot can be much better than this.

      You must be new here. No it can't.

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      Agreed. Even simpler: "Plastic toxic to some fish"

      • Pretty much this.

        And plastics which have likely not been deemed food safe, or otherwise been studied for their safety.

        I mean, has anybody spent any time looking at the composition of these plastics and said "gee, should we be handling this, or making forks from it?".

        I assume at this point, it's totally untested, and just whatever random plastics had the right material properties.

        And, really, just how hard is it to be toxic to the embryos of zebrafish?

    • You must be new here.
    • Sensationalized headlines are in poor taste. Slashdot can be much better than this.

      I assume you mean in some abstract, theoretical way?

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Friday November 06, 2015 @12:28PM (#50877527)

    As anyone who ever had a fish tank will tell you.

    What would be amazing is if they found things not normally in the egg that weren't toxic to the embryos.

    • Most plastics leach curing agents, plasticizers and monomers after they are manufactured. None of this is surprising.

  • by Scott Tracy ( 317419 ) on Friday November 06, 2015 @12:36PM (#50877595)
    The summary reads like he took apart a 3D printer then threw various components from it in a fish tank. I was left wondering why anyone would do that.
  • Would seriously like to know whether they were using PLA or ABS filament for their "not as toxic" melted-plastic machine test.

    I'm printing exclusively with PLA at home, but have no idea which they're talking about.

    • Yeah, you would think that the names of the materials use would be the slightest bit interesting to readers of this article. Perhaps the editor didn't want to alarm anyone, and removed that information.
    • They tested on a Formlabs and a Stratasys Dimension Elite. The Dimension is an ABS plastic, the formlabs SLA printer is Methacrylate Photopolymer Resin. I'm feeling okay about my PLA printer.

    • ABS filament for the FDM (melting plastic machine), methacrylates (and photoinitiator compounds, etc) for the stereolithography machine. The original paper in Enviromental Science & Technology Letters is available (with ACS paywall) here. [acs.org]

    • Yeah, the kind of material is almost as important as the type of printer, especially when there are several different materials that can be used in each of the different printer types.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So Makerbot called on people to help make hermit crab shells to dump in the waters....
    guess that's a bit of a bad idea now.

    http://www.makerbot.com/blog/2011/10/18/project-shellter-can-the-makerbot-community-save-hermit-crabs

  • In other news: 3d-printed guns harmful to humans.
    Who would have thought.

  • Reminds me of those old adverts for Radium, how it'll brighten your teeth etc etc. Maybe one day people will look back at all those Kickstarter videos for 3D printers they way we look at those.
  • 3d printed fish contraception. Who knew it was this versatile!

  • However, there are 3D printers working here at the UW which can bioprint solar cells on flexible film, and ones that can even bioprint compostable furniture NOT USING PLASTICS.

    Plastics are a transitory thing, in terms of what can be printed. Eventually, just as we can 3D print organs, we will do the same and move off plastics.

  • From the article:
    "Other unanswered questions include how to dispose of the waste material â" both solid and liquid â" created by 3-D printers. At this point, the researchers think it is best to take it to a hazardous waste center."

    So how does the hazardous waste center dispose of the material if they don't yet know what aspect of the 3D printed part makes it hazardous? I assume there is a catch all process for such materials, like sealing it up real tight into something that won't leak and droppi

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