An evaluation of the implementation of the Cramer classification scheme in the Toxtree software

SAR QSAR Environ Res. 2008;19(5-6):495-524. doi: 10.1080/10629360802083871.


Risk assessment for most human health effects is based on the threshold of a toxicological effect, usually derived from animal experiments. The Threshold of Toxicological Concern (TTC) is a concept that refers to the establishment of a level of exposure for all chemicals below which there would be no appreciable risk to human health. When carefully applied, the TTC concept can provide a means of waiving testing based on knowledge of exposure limits. Two main approaches exist; the first of these is a General Threshold of Toxicological Concern; the second approach is a TTC in relation to structural information and/or toxicological data of chemicals. The structural scheme most routinely used is that of Cramer and co-workers from 1978. Recently this scheme was encoded into a software program called Toxtree, specifically commissioned by the European Chemicals Bureau (ECB). Here we evaluate two published datasets using Toxtree to demonstrate its concordance and highlight potential software modifications. The results were promising with an overall good concordance between the reported classifications and those generated by Toxtree. Further evaluation of these results highlighted a number of inconsistencies which were examined in turn and rationalised as far as possible. Improvements for Toxtree were proposed where appropriate. Notable of these is a necessity to update the lists of common food components and normal body constituents as these accounted for the majority of false classifications observed. Overall Toxtree was found to be a useful tool in facilitating the systematic evaluation of compounds through the Cramer scheme.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Pollutants / chemistry
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Hazardous Substances / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Maximum Allowable Concentration
  • Public Health
  • Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Software*
  • Toxicity Tests


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hazardous Substances