Exposure and health effects in metal 3D printing – Meta 3D

In this project, we will examine the concentrations and characteristics of chemical agents formed in metal 3D printing, their potential exposure routes and the penetration of these compounds into the human body. In addition to this, we will survey employees’ symptoms and early inflammatory effects and assess the health risk associated with the exposure.
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  1. Measure concentrations of particles during the different work phases of metal 3D printing and determine the  most significant work phases in terms of exposure.  
  2. Examine the characteristics of metal particles and source materials and determine the concentrations of volatile organic compounds in less frequently used metal 3D printing methods.  
  3. Investigate total metal exposure in metal 3D printing and the early inflammatory effects.
  4. Survey the symptoms of employees and examine their connection to metal 3D printing. 
  5. Assess the health risk regarding metal 3D printing and write guidelines for safe working. 

Data and methods

We will perform occupational hygiene measurements during metal 3D printing and examine the concentrations of particles and metals in the air. Furthermore, dermal exposure to metals is measured. 

We will investigate total metal exposure and early inflammatory effects regarding 3D printing using the biomonitoring samples. In addition, we will survey the symptoms of employees using a questionnaire. 

Results and impact

Metal 3D printing is a relatively new industry that is constantly growing and developing. In this project, we will collect information on exposure routes, factors affecting exposure, and the potential health effects of 3D printing. The project will also provide useful information on the characteristics and concentrations of chemical agents at workplaces. 

This information will be particularly useful for companies performing metal 3D printing and higher education institutions that investigate 3D printing and its applications. These stakeholders can utilise the research information in the development of occupational safety and risk management, and when assessing the adequacy of technical control measures and planning safe working methods. 

Our experts

Henkilökuva Maija Leppänen

Maija Leppänen

maija.leppanen [at]
+358 30 474 3483

Research team

Tiina Santonen, research professor 

Kukka Aimonen, researcher

The project will be conducted in collaboration with the Indoor Environment and Occupational Health research group of the University of Eastern Finland and their experts  Marko Hyttinen, Antti Väisänen ja Antti Karjalainen. 


The project will be carried out in collaboration with the Indoor Environment and Occupational Health research group of the University of Eastern Finland. 


This project is funded by The Finnish Work Environment Fund.