Epson Stylus Photo colour prints are turning orange due to heavy concentrations of ozone in the air.

Several owners of Epson’s Stylus Photo 870, 875DC and 1270 reported their printed photos had turned orange in a matter of days. However, this problem doesn’t occur to all printer owners.

Robert Clark, of Epson, said: "The 870 is better in every way than the 750. The issue is that one type of paper, Premium Glossy, produces this orange effect. The coating on top of this paper is slightly porous and allows contaminants to get through."

Shipped in May, the printers were touted as an economic alternative to professional photo-printing and developing. The complaints initially puzzled Epson. They’d hired a lab to "torture-test" inks and papers for the new Stylus Photo models. Confident with the results, Epson boasted the prints would be "beautiful and fade-resistant for years to come".

The futures orange Customers’ printed photos fell short of Epson’s test results because the lab kept the test prints under glass, protecting the prints from the air. Epson now believes ozone destroys the dye in cyan (blue) ink and leaves behind the magenta (red) and yellow – resulting in an orange effect.

The effect occurs only when there's a high concentration of ozone at ground level. This explains why not all users have experienced this. Many factors can affect ozone levels, such as the weather and other chemicals in the environment. Ironically, in polluted areas the problem is less severe as other pollutants interfere with the ozone's ink-eating ability.

The solution to this problem is an ink unaffected by ozone exposure, but changing inks isn't as simple as it sounds, says Greg McCoy, Epson's senior product manager for consumables. He adds: "With any change to an ink, it’s impossible to maintain the overall quality of the printer. It would be a catastrophe."

Work around Epson makes several suggestions for solving the problem. First, the company recommends protecting photo prints from air in glass frames or acid-free, photo sleeves. Also, if you're using Epson's Premium Glossy Photo Paper, switch to a different type of paper.

The Premium Glossy Photo suffers more from orange shift than Epson's other papers. It produces its bright, rich look by trapping ink on a surface barrier - where it is most exposed to ozone - instead of letting it soak in.

Epson recommends its Matte Paper-Heavyweight or Photo Paper. If you can't live without glossies, Epson plans to release a Premium Glossy Photo paper in October featuring an antioxidant to block the ozone's effects.

Customers experiencing a problem should call Epson on 01442 227 249