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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


TAMEZ GONZALEZ, Silvia; ORTIZ-HERNANDEZ, Luis; MARTINEZ-ALCANTARA, Susana  and  MENDEZ-RAMIREZ, Ignacio. Health hazards associated with the use of video display terminals. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2003, vol.45, n.3, pp.171-180. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between video display terminal (VDT) use and health hazards, occupational risks, and psychosocial factors, in newspaper workers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 1998 in a representative sample (n=68) drawn from a population of 218 VDT operators in Mexico City. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Data were confirmed by performing physical examinations. The research hypothesis was that both the current and cumulative use of VDT are associated with visual, musculoskeletal system, and skin illnesses, as well as with fatigue and mental or psychosomatic disorders. Occupational health hazards were assessed (visual problems, postural risks, sedentary work, computer mouse use, excessive heat, and overcrowding), as well as psychosocial factors related to work organization (psychological demands, work control, and social support). Prevalence ratios were adjusted for confounding variables like age, sex and schooling. RESULTS: Women were more likely than men to have upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), dermatitis, and seborrheic eczema. VDT use was associated with neuro-visual fatigue, upper extremity MSD, dermatitis, and seborrheic eczema. Computer mouse use and postural risks were significantly associated with health problems. Psychosocial factors were mainly associated with mental problems, psychosomatic disorders, and fatigue. CONCLUSIONS: Intense use of video screens has been found to cause musculo-skeletal disorders of the hand. The diversification of tasks and control of labor processes itself had a protective effect against psychosomatic disorders and pathological fatigue.

Keywords : video display terminal; computers; musculoeskeletal disorders; asthenopia; dermatitis; Mexico.

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