Now You Can Print Your Own Death Certificate

Samsung has a home laser printer that I've seen on sale for seventy bucks. I almost bought one. That was last week.

This week, there's a report out of Australia in which researchers found that a third of laser printers emitted dangerous levels of toner dust which is fine and can linger in the air for fifteen minutes.

Of course, in an office setting, where the printer is being used all day long, the air may never clear – and that toner dust may be far worse than cigarettes, the researchers say. But probably not as dangerous as asbestos, I say.

Me: "Do you sit near your office printer?"

Wife: "Yes, it's an HP, why?"

Me "Oh my God… !"

From the article: "The researchers found that… More than half of the printers tested – and all but one of the highest polluters – were made by HP Laserjet."

Late last year, my wife had a routine chest X-ray which showed her to have a small spot on her lung. She was advised to get a follow-up X-ray in three months.

That one showed the same spot, and she was sent for a CT-scan which, surprise, also showed the spot.

My wife was then told to see a lung specialist, and she was fortunate enough to get an appointment – four and a half months later – at the end of August.

So we've been waiting since March to find out if the spot's gotten worse, or if (as I found out from the Net, not her doctors) such small spots are almost never cancer.

Would you feel relieved?

I mean no one asked to see her films to determine if there was any urgency, and when I brought up that seemingly significant point to my doctor (not hers), he advised that they would only do that (examine the X-rays ahead of time) "if she had symptoms."

Amazing, don't you think?

In the meantime, my wife went to Urgent Care last February because she was experiencing what she called "congestion" in her chest. It was determined that she was not having a heart attack, but these episodes have since become so frequent that she now regards them as routine.

And now… do you think exposure to toner particles five days a week could cause "congestion?"

Wife: "What do you want me to do, quit?"

That is the dilemma, isn't it? Does she quit or does she bring this study to her company's attention and possibly risk damaging her career or even being fired?

Or does she say nothing and just wait to see if she's only got months to live anyway?

Oh, and did I mention she works for an environmental testing lab?

Air quality heal thyself.

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About tedwest

A longtime veteran of comedy and political forums, I decided that I needed a more restful venue because... well... I finally hate everybody. Except my wife that is... and my ex-wife.. and... no, that's about it. I lead about as simple a life as one can, preferring activities that include anything that doesn't involve going out and seeing YOU! And I particularly enjoy what I call "Get the Bitch" movies on Lifetime. You know the ones where the intended victim finally does something so incredibly stupid that she forfeits her right to live, and from that moment on you're rooting for the stalker. Of course, it rarely works out the way you want, but when it does, the feeling you get is... well, there's nothing else like it, other than, maybe, eating chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and I'm proudly anti-wildlife, both foreign and domestic, and anti-environment - especially foreign environments. I think Howard Stern put it best when he said, "If fifty percent of the population died tomorrow, I can live with that." And I feel the same about the other fifty percent, so together, we've pretty much got it all covered.
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2 Responses to Now You Can Print Your Own Death Certificate

  1. I certainly hope there is nothing wrong with your wife regarding the spot on her lung. I would be frightened and concerned. I will say a special prayer for her, although I know your stance on religion, but it is my humble way to say that I care. I wondered about you while reading this piece, you seemed more serious than usual, but you did not fail to deliver with your closing 2 lines. OMG! I almost fell off my chair. How absurd is this? Did they not pre-test their printers or at least the toner before submitting their employees to the dangers? Shame on them.

  2. TedWest says:

    Maddy, I've debated for a long time whether to write about this because a) there's nothing anyone can do, and b) it'll probably turn out to be nothing.
    But just being involved in the "process" was and is a real eye-opener. It's like we go along thinking nothing will happen to us, or that even if it does, it's a long way off, but it isn't necessarily so. And there are people who face far worse and at much younger ages.
    And this printer thing really shows how absurd life can be. I mean, my wife does tests on hazardous materials and has for many yeaars… but did the printer do her in? It reminds me of how, years ago, I put fiberglass insulation in an entire house. Then a few months later, for the first time, a home improvement show said you should wear a mask when doing that. D'oh!
    I'm still here, but they say it can take twenty to thirty years for lung problems to develop, and it's many times more likely if you smoke. Well, what if you don't smoke… but you print a lot?
    Thanks for your concern.

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