Within the research activity area of Environmental Toxicants Emerging in Daily Life, our team is currently focused on the toxicants of melamine and phthalates. We have concentrated on their effect on risk of kidney disease and immunological disorders and have sought to elucidate the mechanisms underlying these effects. Additionally, we have assessed and continue to assess the risks associated with co-exposure of these two common environmental toxicants in general and susceptible populations, develop acceptable daily intake recommendations, and provide important information to authorities wanting to establish and implement health policies. Over the last few years, RCEM has gained an admirable international reputation in the field of food safety. In the current year, our research teams have published 24 papers related to this field, and among these, 14 papers have been published in high-quality journals (impact factor >5 or ranked in the top 10% in each field). Our achievements include in following: (1) We found the co-exposure of melamine and oxalate accelerates kidney injury via excess oxidative stress, suggesting the tolerable daily intake (TDI) of melamine should be adjusted in different susceptible populations (Ecotoxicol Environ Saf., 2021, 225:112756.). (2) We integrated the risk assessment expertise of Dr. Chu-Chih Chen at National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) to evaluate the melamine exposure threshold in early chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. We found that early-stage CKD patients should strictly refrain from using melamine tableware and related melamine-made products (Environ Int., 2021, 156:106652). These research findings were also translated into the health education articles and published on the NHRI website (https://reurl.cc/pxEDEb). (3) We found that co-exposure of the two toxicants, melamine and phthalates, might be associated with markers of early kidney injury in pregnant women (Chemosphere., 2021, 272:129925). (4) We found that dermal DEP level to be significantly associated with a decrease in lung function test values, suggesting asthmatic individuals should avoid environmental exposure to phthalates (Environ Res., 2021, 194:110613).
Within our research activity area of Local and National Environmental Hazards, the RCEM actively utilizes the resources available at Kaohsiung Municipal Siaogang Hospital, a KMU system hospital KMU, to study the adverse effects of factories in a heavily industrialized area in the southern Kaohsiung. Therefore, our research group along with the community health care system has been able to perform several studies, including intervention studies, to elucidate the special composition of air pollutants around Kaohsiung Industrial Park, study its relationship with community health, and improve our community health care system. In this year, our research teams have published 14 articles in this area, and among these papers, six were published in high-quality journals. With regard to outdoor air pollution issues, our research findings have been incorporated into health education articles and published as educational posters on outpatient bulletin boards at the Siaogang Hospital. In addition, we have worked with local communities to create and promote a learning exchange platform for environmental education. With regard to indoor air pollution issues, our research team designed a novel fumes collector capable of reducing up to seventy-six percent of aldehyde concentrations in cooking oil fumes (COFs) (Environ Res., 2021, 195:110815). This innovation can reduce the hazards of COFs to human health. In addition, we recently coordinated with Prof. Timothy Wiedmann at the Masonic Cancer Center of University of Minnesota to build the simulation chambers for COFs generation for exposure studies. We aim to analyze the composition of COFs and investigate the pathological mechanism of lung damage induced by COFs.
The RCEM actively collaborates with the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota to implement and integrate the specialized analysis platform for DNA adductomics at our center. This unique analysis platform will be used to explore and elucidate the interactions and mechanisms between environment, genes, and diseases. Currently, the RCEM is establishing the preliminary analysis platform for the DNA adducts caused by 2,4-decadienal, a long-chain aldehyde, the main component released in cooking oil fumes (COFs). In addition, one of our postdoctoral researchers, Dr. Yu-Ming Hsu, a member of the adductomic platform team will do research at Prof. Robert Turesky’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota for one year.