Friday, January 24, 2014Portraits

Stephane Pirnay: the effervescence of an expert toxicologist

© L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

Expert toxicologists, who can sign product safety evaluations, have some of the most desirable skills in the cosmetics industry today (especially since the new Regulation went into effect). Job opportunities for these professionals abound, providing excellent career opportunities… but these days there is a shortage of candidates. How does one become an expert toxicologist? Example with Stephane Pirnay, of the EXPERTOX firm and laboratory.

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It all began with an effervescent tablet – like those you drop into a glass of water and then drink to relieve a headache. As a toddler, Stephane observed the phenomenon and found it magical: ' An hour later, the pain was gone! But I didn't know how it worked. As a child, I was very curious about how drugs worked on headaches, cuts and scrapes, and diseases, ' he says today.

His father ran a business as an ironworks engineer, and his mother was a civil servant at the Police Prefecture. The family lived worlds away from the pharmaceutical industry, but when Stephane's schoolteachers asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, he would say, ' I would like to sell medicine .' He didn't change his mind as he grew older, and he began studying to become a dispensing chemist.

Pharmaceuticals? That's not what I had in mind!

Everything went smoothly until his second year of study. His first work placement at a pharmacy hit him like a cold shower. Stephane Pirnay discovered the reality of the job. ' I like giving advice, but the boss wasn't happy when I spent 10 minutes with a …

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