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The creation of the French Society of Toxicology (SFT) was not easy. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. The diverse origin of toxicologists (doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians and others)
  2. The diversity of the disciplines involved (analytical chemistry, genetics, physiology, oncology, etc.)
  3. And the sometimes complicated relationship with Pharmacology, leading to mixed entities in some countries, with controversial results.

The industrial importance of Toxicology and its regulatory consequences in assessing the safety of products should also not be forgotten.

However, in the early 1960s, things began to change: in 1961, the creation of the United States Society of Toxicology (SOT), and in 1962, in Europe, the creation of the European Society for the Study of Drug Toxicity (ESSDT ) (of which Prof. René TRUHAUT was a founding member). This showed that scientific progress created the need for greater interaction within nations and at an international level. But the road ahead was still long.

In France, in the early 1970s, informal contact began to take place between the contemporary leaders of the time (Profs. René TRUHAUT, Michel GAULTIER, Etienne FOURNIER, etc. and some of their colleagues in view of the creation of a FST (SFT), which was to lead to a meeting on February 11th, 1974. There were many doctors, just one veterinarian, and no members of industry, but this meeting nevertheless led to the election of a temporary President (Prof. René TRUHAUT) and a temporary office which would be in charge of developing, adopting and formalizing statutes at a regulatory level. The first general assembly met in 1975, and Prof. Michel GAULTIER was elected the first President of the FST (SFT).

It was high time, because major events were about to take place in the coming decade:

  1. In 1977, the International Union of Toxicology (IUTOX) was founded, and it held its first convention that same year in Toronto. The FST (SFT) was part of the 9 founding companies.
  2. European Federation still needed to be created: a meeting bringing together presidents of many European societies, including the FST (SFT), took place in Basel in 1984 and endorsed the existence of the European Federation of the Societies of Toxicology (first President: Jim BRIDGES, UK). But, there was one tricky issue: the ESSDT still existed and wasn’t about to disappear ! Having 2 international organizations in Europe was too much. For this reason, in 1989, at the Brighton Congress, the 2 Presidents (Prof. Jean-Roger CLAUDE, France, European Federation and Dr Christian HODEL, Switzerland, ESSDT) ​​and their offices decided in favor of a merger. EUROTOX was born. With one of its major founding countries being the FST (SFT), a French person was chosen as first president: Prof. Guy DIRHEIMER (G. DIRHEIMER and J.-R CLAUDE had been the 3rd and 5th Presidents of the FST [SFT]).

The FST (SFT) has continued to play an active role to this present day:

  1. At a national level, by organizing a very popular annual congress every year, in being one of the first companies to create an Accreditation Committee for the awarding of an European Accreditation in Toxicology, open to non-French candidates (ERT), where Prof. Edmond CREPPY played a very important role, in organizing meetings with specialized companies (genetics, analytical toxicology, etc.) amongst others.
  2. At an international level, by obtaining 3 Vice Presidents or Directors of IUTOX (Profs. Chantal BISMUTH and André RICO, Dr. Rémi GLOMOT, who have sadly all passed away), 3 Presidents of the European Federation or EUROTOX (Profs. JR CLAUDE and G. DIRHEIMER, Dr. Nancy CLAUDE) and a lot of involvement in boards, committees, working groups, etc.

Obtaining a congress is always proof of international recognition. The FST (SFT) won the organization of the VIIIth Congress of IUTOX, in Paris, in 1998, chaired by Prof. J.-R. CLAUDE and vigorously seconded by Prof. C. BISMUTH and Dr. R. GLOMOT. Thirteen years later, in 2011, it was EUROTOX congress’s turn to be held in Paris under Dr. N. CLAUDE’s chairmanship. These 2 meetings were a great success, with some of the highest attendance rates and very popular exhibitions.

And now ... we must continue to strengthen multidisciplinary participation in particular, international presence, support for young researchers, ethical collaboration with industry and regulatory bodies, etc.

These were the goals of the great veterans, described today by a little veteran.

Jean-Roger CLAUDE
Honorary Professor of Toxicology, René Descartes University, Paris
Member of the National Academy of Pharmacy
Member of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences (USA)
Honorary Member of EUROTOX

 

From left to right: former SFT presidents Alain Simonnard (), Jean-Roger Claude (1983-85), Nancy Claude (2009-11), Jean-Paul Briffaux (1999-2001),
Dominique Parent-Massin (2011-13), Philippe Bourrinet (2013-15), Hervé Ficheux (2017-19).