Higher prevalence of dry symptoms in skin, eyes, nose and throat among workers in clean rooms with moderate humidity

Shih Bin Su, Bour Wang, Chien Tai, Hsiu Fen Chang, How Ran Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine whether working under relative humidity (RH) around 55 ± 5% may lead to dry symptoms among workers in tropical regions. Methods: We recruited 3,154 Taiwanese workers who had no history of skin diseases and compared dry symptoms between clean room workers (RH around 55 ± 5%) and other workers (RH around 65 ± 5%). Results: Clean room workers had higher prevalences of dry symptoms of the eye (odds ratio [OR]=1.62, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.40 to 1.86), nose and throat (OR=2.15, 95% CI: 1.66 to 2.79), and skin (OR=1.46, 95% CI: 1.23 to 1.73). In clean room workers, however, dry skin symptoms affected the palms (OR=1.72, 95% CI: 1.24 to 2.39), which are covered by gloves, more frequently than the face (OR=0.65, 95% CI: 0.45 to 0.94), which is exposed to the room air. We found working in clean rooms (adjusted OR [AOR]=1.38, 95% CI: 1.08 to 1.77), 24 to 30 yr of age (AOR=0.78, 95% CI: 0.62 to 0.99), family history of atopic diseases (AOR=1.75, 95% CI: 1.37 to 2.25), and skin moisturizer use (AOR=1.64, 95% CI: 1.30 to 2.06) were independent predictors of skin symptoms. In addition, working in clean rooms was an independent predictor of dry eye (AOR=1.30, 95% CI: 1.06 to 1.60) and dry nose and throat (AOR=1.70, 95% CI: 1.28 to 2.26) symptoms. Conclusions: Whereas the humidity in such working environments is not very low, for workers living in a high humidity environment, the relatively low humidity may still cause dry symptoms of the eye, nose, and throat.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-369
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Occupational Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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