Abstract The chromosome-breaking activity of four 1-(phenyl)-3,3-dimethyltriazenes was tested in vitro on human peripheral blood lymphocytes using S9 mix as a metabolic activation system. 1-(4-Nitrophenyl)-3,3-dimethyltriazene was the most active compound. The difference in the frequency of chromosomal aberrations in a test with and without metabolic activation was significant at the 1% level of significance. The lowest frequency of chromosomal aberrations was induced by 1-(4-methylphenyl)-3,3-dimethyltriazene which, under the conditions of this experiment, is the least stable and probably rapidly degraded to non-active compounds. The chromosomal aberrations were also induced by 1-(4-chlorophenyl)-3,3-dimethyltriazene and 1-(4-bromophenyl)-3,3-dimethyltriazene, this activity was unrelated to metabolic activation.