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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health