On January 8, the 2018 National Science and Technology Awards Conference was held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, our school has won 8 awards. Among them, Professor Shunqing Xu and his team of our institute completed the “Key Technology and Application of Health Risk Identification of Typical Pollutants in Water” won the second prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award.
Professor Shunqing Xu's team - let the people drink clean water
The project is in the field of environmental pollution and prevention. Pollutants in water are the most important factors affecting environmental safety. Mastering the pollutants which has the greatest threat to human health in China's water is a prerequisite for ensuring drinking water safety and water pollution control. For a long time, due to the lack of identification technology for the health risks of typical pollutants in water, China's drinking water standards are lagging behind and water pollution control is lack of specificity. The project used a full life cycle toxicology study to identify new health risks of typical pollutants in water. The combination of internal exposure assessment and health effect detection has developed a key technology for quantitative assessment of population health risks. Using biotoxicity detection combined with chemical separation and identification, a screening technique for characteristic pollution in water based on health risks was established. After nearly 20 years of joint research, the research results have broken through the three technical problems of typical pollutant screening, health hazard identification and population health risk assessment, and achieved systematic innovation and major breakthroughs:
The project identified new health risks for typical contaminants in water: It was first time to discover that exposure to low doses of bisphenol A, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, nonylphenol, etc. during pregnancy can significantly increase the risk of metabolic diseases such as diabetes in the offspring. It has been found that drinking water disinfection by-products can affect male reproductive health and result in adverse pregnancy outcomes. In addtion, they also found that estrogen receptors, aryl hydrocarbon receptors and DNA methylation are key targets for these health risks, and created new techniques for detecting toxic effects.
The project established a recognition technique for typical pollutants in water based on health risks: A typical pollutant identification technology combining genotoxicity, endocrine disruption toxicity detection and chemical separation and identification was established. This project has identified typical pollutants such as trihalomethane, trichloroacetic acid and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate in drinking water, ,13 species of water pollutants in the Huaihe River Basin and highly carcinogenic risk pollutants in East Lake of Wuhan.
The project developed key technologies for the identification and assessment of population health risks: This project has made breakthroughs in the three key links of health risk identifications in water pollutants, human internal exposure and health effects assessment, and created rapid detection techniques for six typical pollutants in water. This project also innovatively established methods for detection of internal exposure to drinking water disinfection by-products, dynamic assessment of internal exposure, and detection of four markers of health.
The project won the first prize of Hubei Scientific and Technological Progress Award (twice); formulated 1 mandatory national standard and 11 national standard detection methods; authorized 6 invention patents; completed 2 textbooks; published 6 monographs; published 109 SCI papers and cited 2537 times. The research results have been used four times by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of World Health Organization as an important basis for assessing the risk of carcinogenicity of drinking water disinfection by-products, and also been adopted by the German Biological Monitoring Committee as an important evidence for the revision of the bisphenol A standard. It provided a scientific foundation for the formulation of the “Standards for Drinking Water” (GB5749-2006), which ensured safe drinking water in China. The discovery of cancer-causing pollutants in East Lake in Wuhan has promoted the implementation of the “Lake to River” project by the Hubei Provincial Government (the drinking water source has been changed from East Lake to Yangtze River). The identified typical pollutants in the Huaihe River Basin were included in the National Ecological Environment Monitoring Program, which promoted the improvement of water quality in the basin.