December '20

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Page 46 of 168

W ith the rash of raging wild- fires in California and the ongoing COVID-19 pan- demic, mainstream news has made many of us more aware of the health concerns associated with air quality. For those of you that missed that news flash, wildfire smoke is made up of many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and fine particles, mostly less than 2.5 micron in size. This is relevant because laser smoke contains a similar cocktail of VOCs and sub-micronic dust particles. Large particles are filtered out by the body's natural defenses. If you've blown your nose after sitting next to a campfire for a while and found dark mucus in the tissue, you've seen part of your body's de- fense system at work. Unfortunately, par- ticles smaller than 2.5 microns can travel deep into the lungs and cause damage such as heart disease and lung inflammation. Studies from the American Journal of Public Health have shown that repeated exposure to elevated levels of wood smoke (particles less than 2.5 microns) can sup- press macrophages (cells that destroy patho- gens in your body), leading to increases in lung inflammation. Why should you care about this? Because lasers produce high lev- els of particles smaller than 2.5 microns. HOW A LASER FUME EXTRACTOR HELPS The good news is that the laser burning in your workflow is far from "wild," and using a professional fume extractor easily keeps VOCs and dust particles in check. Laser fume extractors are equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Arrestation filters, more commonly known as HEPA filters. These filters remove 99.995% of all the particles at 0.3 microns, returning a steady flow of super clean air back into the room. You may not know this, but the HEPA filters used in these fume extractors are the same type used in medical facilities to reduce the concentration of airborne pathogens in indoor environments. A nice bonus! Furthermore, fume extractors have activated carbon filters, which remove the nuisance odors and VOCs generated while lasering materials. Aside from providing safer air quality in the room, a laser fume extractor ensures that the internal components of your la- ser system stay cleaner for a longer period Filtered Laser Fume Extractors WHY THEY MAKE EVEN MORE SENSE THESE DAYS 4 0 G R A P H I C S P R O D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M When selecting a fume extractor, the manufacturers are best suited to define the optimal machine for your needs. Start by choosing a manufacturer that special- izes in fume extractors designed for laser applications. (Image courtesy BOFA Americas Inc.) A W A R D S & C U S T O M I Z AT I O N B Y C H A U V O Air quality in the workplace has become more im- portant with the rise of air pollution due to wildfires and having to adapt to living with the pandemic (shown here is the Filtrabox Micro laser fume ex- tractor). (Image courtesy Chau Vo)

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