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What are the effects on health in the clean room environment

Update:21-06-2021
Summary:

The clean room is the main production plant of the high […]

The clean room is the main production plant of the high-tech industry in the microelectronics industry, wafer foundry, and thin film liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) optoelectronics industry. It adopts airtight buildings, airtight buildings, conductive floors, and high-efficiency particulate air filtration (HEPA) membrane ventilation to control dust in the air. The temperature is controlled at 22±2°C and the relative humidity is controlled at 55±5%. Personnel entry and exit are strictly controlled, and all-body dust-free clothes, hats and shoes must be worn and anti-static rings must be worn by hands. It is now the mainstream operating environment in the high-tech industry. So what are the health effects of long-term operation in a clean room?

1. Health problems caused by low humidity:
The clean room environment strictly controls the humidity (relative humidity 55 ± 5%), resulting in long-term exposure of workers to a dry working environment that is very different from the outside atmospheric humidity, which may affect the physiological regulation of human moisture to a certain extent.
The results of the study show that compared with new employees, workers who have worked in a clean room for a period of time have significantly reduced dry eye symptoms (over-evaporation of water on the surface of the eyeball) and tear secretion of the eyeball. It is speculated that the reason may be that the humidity difference between the clean room and the general workplace is too large, which leads to accelerated evaporation of the exposed parts of the human body. In addition to dry eyes, dry dermatitis can also occur when the skin of the face and limbs is affected for a long time. Other studies have also found that working long hours in a low-humidity environment has a significantly higher incidence of atopic dermatitis. Some industries, such as lithium batteries and the pharmaceutical industry, use dry rooms with lower humidity (relative humidity less than 10%), and the health effects are more obvious.

2. Hand contact dermatitis caused by glove use:
Workers need to wear special gloves to work in a clean room. The commonly used material is PVC, and a small number of them are latex gloves. Due to the close contact of gloves with the skin, long-term or regular use has caused some workers to experience repeated contact dermatitis. Although cotton gloves can be used to overcome it in the short term, chronic contact dermatitis is still unavoidable. The use of nitrile gloves can effectively avoid this reaction.

3. Health problems related to ergonomics:
Workers working in clean rooms generally adopt a four-shift two-wheel system (12 hours as a shift). After working for two consecutive days, they have two consecutive days of rest. They must wear dust-proof clothing and hats during work. Although taking a 20-minute break every 2 hours, it is inconvenient to put on and take off the whole body dust-free clothing. Some female workers may respond by drinking less water and going to the toilet, and they are more likely to suffer from urinary tract infections in the long run.

4. Other issues:
The research report shows that the color recognition ability of operators working in the yellow light zone of the semiconductor industry and the optoelectronic industry will be affected in a short period of time. The results of the study found that under different light sources, the color recognition ability of the subjects will have obvious differences, and the recognition ability of different people will also be different. The average error score of the subjects under yellow light was 263.88, which was much higher than 12.92 of white light. At the same time, under yellow light, the ability to recognize yellow-green, green, blue-green, blue, purple, and red is weakened to a certain extent, but the normal color recognition ability can be restored when the normal white light environment is restored. Whether this special lighting environment has a long-term effect on color discrimination remains to be further studied.

 

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