Why is humidity measured?
Our well-being and health
Over 80 % of all the diseases in towns are produced by viruses and other microorganisms which enter the body through the respiratory organs. When the relative humidity is too low, viruses live longer and can enter our lungs easily as they float in the air with the dust. In the moist lungs they are activated and generate e.g. the common cold and other illnesses. Too dry air irritates the respiratory organs and, for instance, people suffering from asthma or allergies can have breathing difficulties. Dry air also makes the skin dry.
On the other hand, mould, fungi and dust mites thrive in high humidities. Mould has become a problem particularly in northern countries where houses are sometimes built too tight. Condensed humidity can cause mould growth on construction materials.
Health hazards are minimized when the relative humidity is kept in the
range of 40...50 %RH.
In low humidities static electricity increases. Static electricity discharge
can make some raw materials or gases in production processes explode.
This is why the safety regulations in oil refineries and chemical plants,
chemistry laboratories and hospitals dictate that the relative humidity
is kept at an acceptable level.
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