SCRAM: A scoring and ranking system for persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic substances for the North American Great Lakes

Erin M. Snyder, Shane A. Snyder, John P. Giesy, Shari A. Blonde, Gary K. Hurlburt, Cheryl L. Summer, Rachel R. Mitchell, Dennis M. Bush

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Hundreds of chemical contaminants have been identified in the Great Lakes System of North America. Depending on the agency or organization, various subset lists of these contaminants have been identified as chemicals of potential concern. However, there is no agreement on the method that should be used to make management decisions. Except for consensus on approximately 40 chemicals that most North American agencies agree can cause deleterious effects if released into the environment, no agreement has been reached regarding the priority that contaminants should receive for further action. That leaves hundreds of chemicals that have been, are being, or potentially could be released into the environment that have not been evaluated yet. A profile for potential chemicals of concern is generally thought to include persistence in the environment, potential to bioaccumulate, and ability to cause toxic effects at environmentally relevant concentrations. Except for the International Joint Commission's definition of persistence (> 8 weeks residence time in air, water, soil or sediment), there is little concurrence about what defines these characteristics. For instance, the State of Michigan currently has no established definitions or profiles of persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic substances. Furthermore, there is no standard process to rank chemicals relative to these characteristics. The Chemical Scoring and Ranking Assessment Model (SCRAM) has been developed to provide a process to rank-order chemicals based on these characteristics. The SCRAM system was developed primarily for use in the Great Lakes region of North America and particularly in Michigan, but it is not site-specific. Use of this system may assist in pollution prevention activities and other future chemical control efforts, allowing attention to be focused first on those chemicals likely to present the greatest hazard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Acute toxicity
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Chemical scoring and ranking
  • Chronic toxicity
  • Hazard
  • North American Great Lakes
  • Persistence
  • Priority pollutants
  • SCRAM (Chemical Scoring and Ranking Assessment Model)
  • Uncertainty
  • Water pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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