In the late 1970’s those of us involved in Inhalation Toxicology felt the need for some kind of forum where the special technology of Inhalation Toxicology could be discussed. This need arose because of the many different facets of science involved in generating and administering test atmospheres to animals and man.
A letter was sent out in October 1980 by a founder member, at the time was working for BIBRA to a number of companies and contract laboratories, proposing the establishment of an Inhalation Toxicology Group.
Early in 1981 things started to move forward, and on Friday 15th May, an inaugural meeting of the Inhalation Toxicology Group was held in the BIBRA conference room. Representatives from the several organisations were present, Industry being represented by:
The Director of BIBRA gave an opening speech of welcome and wished the Group every success in its first and successive meetings. Next the comments from completed questionnaires that had been returned were read and reviewed. These included suggestions for affiliation of the group (if successful) to the BTS and also the remit of the group should be properly defined. The group outlined a few do’s and don’t’s in setting up a small technology group. Two points made were:
Members should be practitioners Frequency of meeting should not exceed 2-3/year, This meeting established the AIT.
It is interesting to note that round about this time events were also moving in the Inhalation field in the USA, where a workshop on Inhalation Chamber Technology had been organised by Brookhaven National Laboratory.
The first meeting of the Association of Inhalation Toxicologists took place at Trinity College, Oxford on 28/29th September 1981.
The meeting topic was Particulate Atmospheres. At the end of the meeting, topics for future meetings were discussed and additions made to the pre-circulated list. Memories of the meeting include one of the best dinners we ever had, in the candlelight of Trinity College complemented by some fine wines, and on the following morning a founder member was presented with a prayer card (as the prayers before breakfast, by tradition were always spoken in Latin).
The next committee meeting was at BP Sunbury on 2nd December 1981 where the agenda included such items as the Constitution – a subject the committee wrestled with for a number of meetings, a newsletter to include an AIT logo contest, links with other groups, sponsorship, membership and arrangements for a Spring meeting. Under any other business the committee discussed the layout for a suitable letterhead.
The spring meeting was heralded in a note in the first AIT Newsletter. This announced a £1 members fee and the newsletter was accompanied by a list of 41 members dated February 1982. The newsletter sported the new AIT logo showing particles diverging from A to T through the I. A request for other logo designs did not produce any response, so the logo on the first newsletter was adopted and has stood the test of time.
The second meeting was held at the University of Surrey on 6th April 1982 and was preceded by a committee meeting on the 5th. One of the committee’s functions was the approval of nine new members. On the following day, members heard presentations on the Generation of Particulate Atmospheres, a new Particle Size Analyser and the Design of Inhalation Studies.
Since this time the Association has remained in existence for what is now 21 years and there have been 30 formal meetings as detailed below and countless organising/committee meetings. Most of these meetings, particularly in the early years have been in the UK. However as the membership from Mainland Europe grows a number of meetings in recent years have been held in Continental Europe. The topics have been varied from year to year, although some particularly relevant topics have been revisited on a number of occasions.