03/07/2020 14:37 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

The scientist who finds toxicity in indoor air

Dr. Tran Manh Tri has been nominated for the 2020 Ta Quang Buu Award for his research “Occurrence of phthalate diesters in indoor air from several northern cities in Vietnam, and its implication for human exposure”. The 39-year-old scientist has published more than 40 works in domestic journals and another 20 in international journals.
Dr. Tran Manh Tri has long pursued the idea of making a scientific topic about the exposure risks of phthalates in an indoor environment. Phthalates, for over 50 years, have been a leading ingredient in the research and evaluation of world organizations for their safety because phthalates are present in many items of daily life.

In 2015, Tri’s idea was approved by the National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) because the foundation recognized the urgency of Tri’s project in real life application.

In this study, around 100 indoor air samples were collected from four northern Vietnamese cities and provinces including Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Thai Binh and Tuyen Quang from August 2016 to February 2017. All were analyzed at the laboratories in the Faculty of chemistry at Vietnam National University (VNU) - University of Science, the Hanoi Research Center for Technology Transfer, and Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology. The result of the study indicates all the collected air samples contain high concentrations of phthalates.


After two years of testing, sampling and completing data processing, the work has been published in the prestigious international journal “Science of the Total Environment”. Unlike previous studies which focused solely on standardizing methods, or doing individual risk assessment studies, this study is considered to be complete, comprehensive and highly interdisciplinary. Also, the study has applied the process to assess the level of phthalates in the air according to different micro-environments in Vietnam. The study also assesses the risk of exposure to phthalates by breathing air for different age groups of Vietnamese people.

Dr. Tran Manh Tri has been nominated for the 2020 Ta Quang Buu Award for his research “Occurrence of phthalate diesters in indoor air from several northern cities in Vietnam, and its implication for human exposure”.


Dr. Tran Manh Tri has made creative innovations in optimizing phthalates sampling techniques.


Dr. Tran Manh Tri and his colleagues continue to standardize the optimal analysis methods to monitor pollution levels and assess risks of exposure to other compounds of the endocrine disruptors and phthalates in ambient air.


Dr. Tri prepares a sampling tool  for his research. 


Dr. Tran Manh Tri talks with a student at the laboratory of the Faculty of Chemistry, VNU University of Science.


The scientist has published more than 40 works in domestic journals and another 20 in international journals.

The success of the study provided a method for identifying organic compounds that cause hormonal disorders in environmental samples. The result of the study contributes to improving the capacity of environmental analysis and monitoring for intensive laboratories in Vietnam.

Phthalates are a group of synthetic chemicals, dispersed mainly into indoor air from household items such as plastic utensils and cosmetics. Phthalates cause hormonal disorders and seriously affect the health of children and adults through inhalation.
Currently, Dr. Tran Manh Tri and his colleagues continue to standardize the optimal analysis methods to monitor pollution levels and assess risks of exposure to other compounds of the endocrine disruptors and phthalates in ambient air, indoor dust, beverages, and food contained in plastic items.

In addition to teaching in the chemistry department at the Vietnam University of Science, Dr. Tri focuses a lot of time on other scientific research projects. For him, when a project achieves success, the joy is multiplied by contributing to the application of science in real life and the development of society./.



Dr. Tran Manh Tri exchanges experiences with international colleagues in Switzerland. 


Dr. Tri and a research team in New York. 


Dr. Tri poses for a photo with the research team at Hiyoshi group, Japan. 


Dr. Tri and scientists at an international conference in Honolulu. 

The happiness of teacher Tran Manh Tri with graduates of the Faculty of Chemistry, VNU University of Sciences. 

The Ta Quang Buu Prize is an honorable and prestigious award annually organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology to encourage and honor scientists with outstanding achievements in basic research in scientific and technical fields. 2020 is the 7th year the Ministry of Science and Technology organized evaluation and selection of this award.
Story: Bich Van – Photos: Viet Cuong & Files