Self-reported Irritation Symptoms among Workers Exposed to Ultra-low Relative Humidity and Thionyl Chloride

극건조 환경에서 염화티오닐 동시 노출자의 자각증상 경험률

Chae, Yoo Mi

  • Received : 2015.08.31
  • Accepted : 2015.12.12
  • Published : 2015.12.28


Objectives: An ultra dry air environment of nearly ${\leq}2%$ RH is often required in lithium battery factories. The objective of this study is to evaluate the subjective eye, pulmonary, nose, and skin symptoms of workers exposed to ultra-low relative humidity and thionyl chloride. Methods: We recruited 274 workers using a self-reported questionnaire in March 2014. Those who worked in ultra-low relative humidity and with thionyl chloride were identified and their prevalence of symptoms was compared with that of other workers. We excluded white collar workers, researchers and other workers who were exposed to various hazard factors, and finally included 164 workers. Results: There were significant differences in the rate of self-reported eye and skin symptoms between exposure group_1 and exposure group_2. Exposure group_2 experienced more frequent eye, and skin symptoms. Multinomial logistic regression analysis for experience of dry eye symptoms and skin symptoms in exposure group_2 showed that dry eye symptoms (odds ratio [OR], 6.33, 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.19-18.24, p<0.001), and itchiness (OR, 6.45, 95% CI, 1.94-21.43, p<0.01) were the significant variables. The complaints of workers experiencing ultra-low relative humidity and thionyl chloride were high compared with other workers. Conclusion: These findings suggest that exposure to ultra-low relative humidity and thionyl chloride may be associated with more frequent eye and skin symptoms than exposure to ultra-low relative humidity alone. The current precautions to protect workers from the adverse effects of ultra-low relative humidity and thionyl chloride appear to be insufficient, indicating that additional management plans to reduce symptoms should be considered.


Dry eye symptom;self-reported irritation symptom;thionyl chloride;ultra-low relative humidity


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