Regulations and Implementing Rules
The toxicologist is responsible for detecting and characterizing existing and possible hazards by chemicals, particles and biological substances threatening living creatures and ecosystems. The focus is on the correlation between the toxic effect of substances and the dose as well as the duration of exposure, the mechanism of action, the risk resulting from the actual exposition, measures of prevention and treatment of intoxications.
In Switzerland several hundred specialists with different professional backgrounds are dealing with toxicological issues. This requires additional well-structured training and practical experience over a defined period of time. Currently, besides some master programmes in toxicology for selected scientific disciplines, few attempts (e.g. veterinarians specialized in toxicology) have been made to introduce professional recognition. However, there are still a large number of scientists working without a specialized training or a professional recognition.
The Swiss Register of Toxicology was created on December 9, 1995. It is recognized by EUROTOX as national register so that toxicologists registered in Switzerland are admitted automatically to the European register and may use the title European Registered Toxicologist (ERT). In 2006 the Division of Toxicology of the Swiss Society for Pharmacology and Toxicology (SGPT) became an independent society: Swiss Society of Toxicology (SST), Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Toxikologie (SGT), Société Suisse de Toxicologie (SST). The SST elects the registration board of the professional register.
The criteria for admission are agreed with the EUROTOX education subcommittee and incorporate the European requirements (EUROTOX regulations).
The purpose of a recognized list of professional toxicologists is to give credibility to professionals and to guide a larger public to possible sources of information on toxicological issues. High professional competence linked with ethical behaviour is expected of registered toxicologists.
Therefore, the professional register is aiming at:
• listing professionals with a high standard of training and professional responsibility,
• taking into account the variety of possible basic academic formations of toxicologists,
• providing recognition in all of Europe,
• complementing rather than competing with traditional education pathways (e.g. as medical doctors, veterinary doctors, pharmacists),
• creating a trademark for the profession of toxicologists as well as bringing this profession to the attention of a larger public.
1 Professional Register for Toxicology
1.1 Legal Status
The title „Registered Toxicologist“ is issued by the Registration Committee (simple society [in German: “einfache Gesellschaft”] according to OR, Art. 530) and is of „indicative“ value.
1.2 Duration of Registration
The registration is valid for a period of 5 years. It can be extended repeatedly for periods of 5 years by request in writing to the Registration Committee.
1.3. Registration with EUROTOX
Registration with the national committee simultaneously allows admission to the European register as „European Registered Toxicologist“ (ERT).
For the processing of the application for registration in the Swiss register and the EUROTOX register a fee of CHF 180.- has been fixed. An annual fee of CHF 50.- is payable for the administration of the register. This fee covers the costs of re-registration after 5 year periods.
1.5 Deletion of Registration
Deletion automatically occurs after a 5 year period if an extension has not been applied for or if a request for exclusion has been approved by the Registration Committee. The Registration Committee may delete a registration if the registered person does not comply with his or her responsibilities according to the present regulations and implementation rules.
Members who fail to pay two consecutive annual dues have to confirm their membership in writing and immediately pay their debts. Otherwise their name will be deleted from the list of members.
2 Bodies of Registration
The registration bodies are the Registration Committee and the Executive Board of the Swiss Society of Toxicology :
2.1 Registration Committee
The Registration Committee consists of 3 to 5 members, of which at least 3 have to be members of the SST. Registration Committee members are elected by the members of the SST for a period of 3 years and may be re-elected no more than 3 times.
The Registration Committee
1 elects its president,
2 establishes and keeps up-to-date the register of toxicologists,
3 advertises the registration and defines the procedures (for this purpose there is a secretariat with a budget),
4 examines requests for registration, keeps records of decisions and if necessary deletes names from the register,
5 keeps in touch with the European register of EUROTOX and other international professional associations,
6 prepares the requirements for re-registration in the register,
7 submits the accounts to the general assembly of SST members,
8 submits an annual report to the Executive Board of the SST and the registered members,
9 provides information to interested individuals.
2.2 Executive Board of the SST
The Excecutive Board approves the requirements and implementation rules for the registration of toxicologists. It also constitutes the appeals commission and deals with appeals according to its own processes.
The Executive Board of the SST will periodically audit the register of toxicologists with regard to
• the validity of the registrations,
• the compatibility with European requirements,
• the budget and accounting.
3 Requirements for Registration
Three basic requirements have to be fulfilled for admission to the register:
• academic formation (generally in a scientific field),
• completed additional training in toxicology in compliance with the EUROTOX model,
• proof of practical experience with toxicological methods and issues.
All scientists working in specialist fields of toxicology are invited to register.
A detailed description of further requirements follows in the implementation rules below.
4 Registration Procedures
Interested scientists can apply by filling in a form which may be obtained from the secretary of the register. On this form the applicant confirms his or her commitment to the principles and guidelines for scientific experiments with animals in Switzerland as issued by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. The registration fee has to be paid on submission of the application. After checking the application for completeness, the applicant will receive an acknowledgement of receipt.
The Registration Committee normally meets 3 times per year. Applications can be submitted at any time and will be discussed at the next meeting provided that this takes place at least 1 month after the application has been received.
The applications will normally be sent to the members of the Registration Committee one month before the next meeting. The following decisions are taken by the committee: admission, request for further details, rejection, extension of registration, deletion from the register.
The secretary takes care of the administrative work, including the notification of applicants.
Applicants may appeal against decisions of the Registration Committee within 3 months with the Executive Board of the SST (appeals commission). A registered toxicologist may appeal against the admission of a new applicant or the extension of the registration of an already registered toxicologist by providing adequate reasons and supporting material to the Executive Board of the SST.
Admission to the Swiss Register of Toxicology is confirmed with a personal certificate, signed by 2 members of the Registration Committee. A list of names and addresses of all registered members is available on the password-protected section of the website of the Swiss Register of Toxicology and is kept up-to-date.
- IMPLEMENTATION RULES
All experienced scientists with competence in toxicology are invited to apply for registration.
The basic requirements are as follows:
• academic formation with corresponding qualification (doctorate, diploma, etc.),
• additional training in toxicology (if not included in the basic academic formation),
• practical experience which ensures professional knowledge as well as continuous professional development.
Acceptance or rejection of the application as well as deletion from the register is decided by the Registration Committee (see also „Procedures of Registration “).
2 Prerequisites for Registration
2.1 Academic Formation
Completion of at least three years of education (with a doctorate or diploma) in a scientific field (toxicology, biochemistry, pharmacology, biology, molecular biology, medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, organic chemistry, etc.) at a recognized academic institution.
2.2 Additional Training in Toxicology
Basic knowledge in the areas of toxicology defined by the topics in the curriculum for toxicologists of the SST (see „Continuing Education Modules"). Recognition is based on proof of training with examination in all required areas. Trained toxicologists may be partially exempted from the exam requirement.
2.2.1 Proof of Training in an area of toxicology by
a. taking a training module in Switzerland or a similar module abroad (the modules approved by EUROTOX are generally recognized; regarding recognition of other modules or courses please contact the Registration Committee),
b. at least 6 months of working experience in a specific area of toxicology with details on tasks, projects, membership in expert bodies, presentations, etc. in this field.
2.2.2 Proof of Examination in an area of toxicology by
a. passing the exam at the end of each module
b. proof of having passed an examination in an area of toxicology (bachelor degree, master degree, diploma, dissertation) at university level or at an equivalent institution (e.g. American Board of Toxicology).
2.3 Experience on the Job of at least 5 Years
Profound and comprehensive knowledge acquired on the job in at least one specific field has to be documented according to the following criteria:
a. location of professional activity: toxicology groups in industry or in a university institute of toxicology; contract laboratories for toxicological studies, government agencies or private companies dealing with toxicological issues.
b. type of professional activities: implementation or planning and assessment of toxicological standard test procedures, experimental activities in a specific field as investigator in charge, development and improvement of toxicological tests, profound knowledge about the toxicity of important groups of substances or responsibility for expert reports and toxicological assessments.
c. proof of professional activity as scientist in charge of or contributing significantly to a specific field ; list of publications, internal studies (number, topics and methods of investigation applied), names of clients, certificates of employment, list of training courses taken, election to professional bodies, references (see also below).
3 National Register
Admission to the Swiss Register of Toxicology may be granted to individuals working in the area of toxicology in Switzerland, provided that the prerequisites listed under paragraph 2 are fulfilled.
The corresponding national institutions of European countries are responsible for other applicants. Exceptions are possible in agreement with training supervisors and / or national institutions of other countries (e.g. in case of proven unrestricted employment in Switzerland, origin from a country without national register, etc.).
EUROTOX registered toxicologists (already registered in another country) who fulfil the prerequisites mentioned above, may be admitted to the Swiss register according to the requirements for an extension of registration (see below).
After having been registered, the applicant is expected to apply his or her knowledge and judgement in the best way possible and to diligently carry out his or her professional responsibilities. In particular the registered toxicologist commits to comply with the principles and guidelines for scientific experiments with animals of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and to respect the laws on animal protection in Switzerland.
Professional qualifications and performance on the job of the applicant have to be confirmed by two to three referees. They have to be either registered toxicologists (but not members of the Registration Committee), or be professionally active in a corresponding scientific field. They have to be aware of their substantial responsibility towards the applicant and the scientific community. The relationship and potential dependencies between the referee and the applicant have to be declared.
6 Extension of Registration
After 5 years a registered toxicologist may apply for an extension of his or her membership in the professional register if still working in the field of toxicology in Switzerland. The requirements are:
6.1 Proof of Activity as Toxicologist
Criteria according to paragraph 2.3, „Experience on the Job“, and
6.2 Evidence of Continuing Professional Development in areas of toxicology
Participation in modules and courses in toxicology, participation in scientific congresses, presentations and posters, publications, teaching activities, contributions in expert bodies and similar activities. These activities should take up at least an equivalent of 5 working days per year.
The Registration Committee decides on acceptance of and may issue additional guidance on what constitutes acceptable continuing professional development.
6.3 Absence Due to Employment Abroad
In case of employment abroad the registration can normally be renewed once. Further renewals of the registration should be carried out through the competent national register at the place of work abroad. If there is no national register, or if the competent register does not accept a renewal of the registration according to the rules of the Swiss register, the renewal can continue to be carried out through the Swiss register provided that the other conditions of Art. 6 of these implementing rules are met.