Abstract The exhalation of dimethylselenium, as indicated by the respiratory loss of 75Se from injected Na 75SeO 3, depends not only on the dose, but also on previous exposure. Three days pretreatment with 1.2 mol/100 g unlabelled selenite (a) increased exhalation of 75Se from 0.1 or 1.2 mol/100 g Na 2 75SeO 3 and (b) decreased the retention of 75Se in blood and liver from the higher dose. Similarly the injection of 1.2 mol/100 g unlabelled selenite 24 h after the last of 3 daily doses of 1.2 mol/100 g labelled selenite increased the exhalation of 75Se in the following 24 h period. Thus, pre-exposure to selenium increased the exhalation of 75Se by making a higher proportion of the newly injected dose accessible for methylation. The exhaled dimethylselenide, however, is not derived solely from the injected dose, since in pretreated animals, it is possible to demonstrate exchange between injected and deposited selenium.