RE: Vapors generated while laser cutting acrylic

Laser folks:

Here are some links related to the safety of the vapors generated
while laser cutting acrylic (also known as PLEXIGLAS, Poly(methyl
methacrylate), and/or PMMA).

Laser cutting vaporizes PMMA into gaseous compounds (including its
monomers). While I did not see any official EPA or NIOSH site that
said these vapors were a known specific hazard, the second link is
typical of other references that say inhalation of these monomer
vapors can cause irritation of nose, throat, lungs, eyes and skin;
together with dizziness, headache, and nausea. Risks are likely
related to exposure levels and durations. I am not an expert, but
common sense says we want to take appropriate precautions for our
members and neighbors.

Buried in the third link is an exhaust fan spec of 400 CFM at 6" of
pressure and requirement for metal exhaust ducting (not flex plastic)
for in-duct fire safety purposes. There are charcoal filter systems
available (potential DIY project?) intended to allow you to vent back
into the same room rather than outside.

Others are welcome to weigh in with additional information and


If there is listed a negative pressure spec. stating to keep the chamber at say .01" WC or greater, or, if anyone would like to monitor the pressure relationship of the cutting chamber, we have some extra differential pressure monitors we will not be using. We use these to make sure room pressurization stays in check, so they should be more than sufficient. Just let me know!