Europe Poison Centers
1Department of Medical and Toxicological Critical Care, Lariboisière Hospital, INSERM UMRS-1144, Paris-Diderot University, France
Based on the World Health Organization, a Poison Control Centre (PCC) is a specialized unit that advises on and assists with, the prevention, diagnosis and management of poisoning. PCC structure and function varies around the world. PCCs include an information service at a minimum but may also include a toxicology laboratory and/or a clinical treatment unit. PCCs are centralized repositories of data about human exposures to chemicals, including information about the agents involved, the circumstances giving rise to exposure, and the health effects of exposure. These data help to reduce the incidence of poisoning by identifying emerging toxicological hazards (toxicovigilance), stimulating preventive measures by manufacturers and regulators and assessing the efficacy of such measures. PCC data also contribute to improving knowledge about the human health effects of chemicals. The European PCC answer at least 600,000 calls per year from the general public or physicians (about 1,700 calls per day). Roughly half of the cases are related to accidental exposure involving children. More than 72% of poison exposure cases are managed simply by phone, greatly reducing the need for costly emergency department and doctor visits. The European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (EAPCCT) was founded in 1964 by a group of physicians and scientists with the specific goal of advancing knowledge and understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of all forms of poisoning. The EAPCCT facilitates the collection, exchange and dissemination of relevant information among individual members, PCC and organizations interested in clinical toxicology. This lecture will present how the European PCCs were funded and developed during the last 50 years, what their exact tasks and organizational structures are and how they collaborate through Europe for scientific, medical and regulatory purposes. Interestingly, on the 1st of January 2020, new rules will take effect and harmonize PCC notifications across Europe regarding hazardous mixtures.