We have investigated the induction of micronuclei by 15 chlorinated hydrocarbons in the cytochalasin B-blocked micronucleus assay utilizing genetically engineered cell lines. The human lymphoblastoid cell line AHH-1, with native cytochrome CYP1A1 activity, the MCL-5 cell line, which stably expresses cDNAs encoding human CYP1A2, 2A6, 3A4, 2E1 and microsomal epoxide hydrolase, and the h2E1 cell line, containing a cDNA for CYP2E1, were used in this study. We have demonstrated the induction of kinetochore-positive micronuclei by two chlorinated solvents, 2,3-dichlorobutane and 1,1, 2-trichloroethane, in the metabolically competent cell lines MCL-5 and h2E1. The MCL-5 and h2E1 cell lines have in addition shown the capacity to produce metabolites in the presence of methylene chloride, carbon tetrachloride, 1,2,3-trichloropropane, tetrachloroethylene, toluene and n-hexane, wich yield elevated micronucleus frequencies compared with the parental cell line AHH-1. Hexachloroethane failed to induce micronuclei in any of the cell lines and 1,2-dichloroethane and 1-chlorohexane induced micronuclei without the requirement for metabolic activation in all three cell lines. The MCL-5 cell line exhibited reduced micronucleus frequencies compared with the AHH-1 and h2E1 cell lines following exposure to 1,2-dichloroethylene, 1,3-dichloropropane, 1,1, 1-trichloroethane and 1,2,3-trichloropropane. The methodology used has shown the ability of metabolically competent cell lines expressing cDNAs encoding the cytochrome P450 isoenzymes to metabolize halogenated hydrocarbons to genotoxic species, including both clastogens and aneugens. The biotransformation of chemicals to aneugenic species has not previously been demonstrated.