Chemical Insights’ 3D Printing Toolkit gives key takeaways to use 3D Printers safely at home or in schools

Chemical Insights, an Institute of Underwriters Laboratories, has made its 3D printing toolkit available to schools nationwide by including it in the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Green Strides online resource portal.

The Green Strides portal is a one-stop resource providing K-12 schools with tools to pursue knowledge and practices to help make them more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible.

Chemical Insights dedicates its research to advancing safe and healthy working, learning and living environments. Research and findings from its toolkit, 3D Printer School Safety: A Guide for Supporting Indoor Air Quality & Human Healthwas jointly conducted by Chemical Insights and researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology.

The guide explains how 3D printers emit ultrafine particles (UFPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during operation and walks readers through research processes, key findings and unintended consequences on human health. Further, it explains purchasing and operations strategies teachers and parents can implement to mitigate chemical exposure as well as maintain safe and healthy indoor environments while using the technology.

3D printer at-home and classroom usage has skyrocketed because the technology inspires hands-on creativity and problem-solving by bringing a wide range of student ideas to life,” said Dr. Marilyn Black, vice president and senior technical advisor for Chemical Insights. “However, those using 3D printers should know their unintended safety consequences and how to best mitigate those risks. Our informational guide will help administrators, teachers and parents better understand how to safely use 3D printers.”

The Green Strides portal contains hundreds of resources and links to environmental organizations, including webinars, case studies and promising practices so all K-12 schools can make progress around these three pillars:

  1. Reducing environmental impact and costs, including waste, water, energy use, and transportation;
  2. Improving the health and wellness of students and staff, including environmental health, nutrition, and fitness; and
  3. Providing effective sustainability education, including robust environmental education that engages STEM, civic skills, and green career pathways.

The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) uses these pillars to evaluate schools nominated by their states for the federal recognition award. In 2019, 35 schools, 14 districts and four postsecondary institutes received the award.

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