Data base date : February 8, 2017

Research on Public Health and the Environment

Established in 1945 as Hanseongbu Sanitation Test Center, the Seoul Research Institute of Public Health and Environment has grown to become a public institution specialized in research analysis, providing scientific data and evidence in support of the policymaking of Seoul Metropolitan City through a wide variety of tests and studies. It has also contributed to the advancement of public health and well-being by promoting food safety, preventing health conditions caused by urban living, and improving overall quality of life.

Main projects include: tests on the safety of food, medicines, and medical supplies; tests on agro-fishery products and medicinal herbs; tests on livestock products and common diseases; tests for infectious diseases and hazardous microorganisms; studies on water environment, soil, and waste; and studies on air quality and urban living conditions.

As one of the leading testing and certification institutions in Korea, the research institute has played a pivotal role in promoting public health while conducting a variety of research projects through academic exchanges with prestigious domestic and international research centers.

- Current status of official testing and certification centers at home and abroad

  • • International Centers: Korea Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (KOLAS), International Organization for Standardization (ISO14001), and National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP)
  • • Domestic Centers: Odor pollution testing (Ministry of Environment), testing the quality of drinking water (Ministry of Environment), asbestos testing (Ministry of Employment and Labor), monitoring of persistent organic pollutants (National Institute of Environmental Research), AIDS diagnosis (Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), influenza testing (Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and food quality testing (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety)

≪Testing and Research Projects≫

▶ Investigations and monitoring of a variety of foods, food additives, food equipment, containers, and packaging as well as medicines, medical supplies, cosmetics, and hazardous ingredients are carried out in order to help maintain public health through quality and safety testing.

  • • Tests and studies on the quality of foods, health functional foods, and additives
  • • Tests and studies on the sanitation of food equipment, containers, packaging, and hygienic goods
  • • Analyses and studies on generic drugs and sanitary products
  • • Tests and studies on the quality of cosmetics

▶ Agricultural products delivered to Garak Agricultural Market are examined thoroughly at the auction sites. Also, medicinal herbs distributed at Gyeongdong Market, the largest market in Seoul, are monitored for contaminants, such as heavy metals, residual agricultural pesticides, and bleach.

  • • Tests and studies on the safety of agricultural products
  • • Tests and studies on the safety of dried fish and other fishery products
  • • Tests and studies on the safety of medicinal herbs

▶ The Institute provides safe, sanitary livestock products and processed goods made with livestock products by enforcing related standards and conducting inspections to detect hazardous residual materials. In addition, it takes preventive measures against Avian Influenza (AI), foot-and-mouth disease, and mad cow disease, as well as other common diseases.

  • • Testing and research on the quality and safety of livestock products, including component specifications, hazardous residual materials, and microorganisms
  • • Inspection and research on the genetic makeup and DNA of Korean cows
  • • Preventive measures against diseases transmitted through animals, including clinical experiments, examinations, diagnoses, preventive measures, and tracking
  • • Studies on urban environments and related diseases

▶ The Institute conducts testing to detect bacterial contamination of foods, medicines, medical supplies, and water, as well as to identify bacteria related to infectious diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, and viral diseases, such as AIDS and influenza. It also offers training programs for the medical staff of the community health centers of each district.

  • • Tests and studies on pathogenic microorganisms
  • • Tests and studies on the microbial and sanitary properties of foods, medicines, and cosmetics
  • • Tests and studies on viral infectious diseases, including influenza
  • • Tests on pathogenic bacteria causing food poisoning and relevant management and tracking
  • • Tests and studies on HIV testing and populations of mosquitos carrying infectious diseases

▶ Through the operation of an automated air quality testing system in Seoul, details on the status of air quality and pollution in the city are provided in real-time to Seoul citizens through large, digital bulletin boards. In particular, information on yellow dust and ozone concentrations is updated in real-time so as to minimize their impact on public health. A range of studies on health hazards, including asbestos, noise pollution, and dioxins, are conducted as well.

  • • Operation of 25 city and 15 road-based air quality monitoring stations
  • • Operation of public information system for air pollution as well as forecasting and warning systems
  • • Studies on climate change, long-range transport of pollutants, and hazardous pollutants
  • • Testing of indoor air quality and asbestos in multi-use facilities and new residential housing
  • • Investigations of odor and noise pollution
  • • Management of other environmental issues, such as noise complaints among neighbors, light pollution, electromagnetic waves, and radioactivity

▶ The Institute works to protect underground water sources and the ecosystems of other water environments through regular inspections and monitoring of the quality of drinking water, water for domestic use, and mineral springs, as well as the water quality of the Hangang River and streams. Furthermore, numerous research studies on the inspection on soil pollution and wastes have been conducted.

  • • Inspections of the quality of drinking water and water for domestic use
  • • Operation of water quality monitoring network in the Hangang River and streams
  • • Inspections of hazardous pollutants from waste water disposal centers
  • • Inspections of hazardous chemicals from soil and wastes

≪International Cooperation and Education Service≫

▶ International Cooperation on Joint Research Projects

In order to address public health and environment-related issues, the Institute has signed an array of research agreements with prestigious domestic and international institutions, such as the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection, Ulan Bator in Mongolia, Samsung Medical Center, and the Korean Society for Atmospheric Environment. Through these agreements, the Institute executes a variety studies by integrating the particular strengths of each partner institute in their respective research areas.

  • • Research on air quality improvement in Northeast Asia in collaboration with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection and Ulan Bator in Mongolia
  • • Research on the impact of the environment on diseases in partnership with Samsung Medical Center and Seoul Medical Center
  • • Joint research projects with the Korean Society for Atmospheric Environment, Korean Society for Indoor Environment, and Korean Society of Environmental Health
  • • Research on food safety and biomedicine in cooperation with Muroran Institute of Technology, Japan, and the Institute of Biomedical Science and Food Safety at Korea University

▶ Operation of Science Experience Class

As Seoul City’s leading research institute and equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories and facilities, the Institute has conducted numerous experimental studies in the field of public health and the environment, offering ample opportunities for the general public to gain first-hand experience with scientific experimentation.

  • • Science experience class for children and teens
  • • Counseling program encouraging middle and high school students to pursue careers in science
  • • Open laboratories for university students and the general public

- English Guidebook (to be provided)

Tests on the Safety of Foods, Medicines, and Medical Supplies (1)_1 (1)_2 (1)_3
Tests on Agro-Fishery Products and Medicinal Herbs (2)_1 (2)_2 (2)_3
Tests on Livestock Products and Common Diseases (3)_1 (3)_2 (3)_3
Tests for Infectious Diseases and Hazardous Microorganisms (4)_1 (4)_2 (4)_3
Studies on Air Quality and Living Conditions (5)_1 (5)_2 (5)_3
Studies on Water Environment, Soil, and Waste (6)_1 (6)_2 (6)_3
International Cooperation and Education Service (7)_1 (7)_2 (7)_3