To evaluate the roles of circulating hydrogen ion and lactate in the production of exercise-induced asthma, two experiments were performed. In the first, we exercised six asthmatic subjects to exhaustion on a bicycle ergometer while recording arterial pH at periodic intervals. Multiple aspects of pulmonary mechanics were measured before and after the work load. After recovery, the identical procedures were repeated, but sufficient quantities of sodium bicarbonate were infused to keep the pH at the pre-exercise level. In both experiments, statistically identical attacks of asthma were induced. To study the effect of lactate, five subjects were exercised on several occasions in order to determine the lowest level of work, and hence arterial lactate, that was reproducibly associated with an acute asthma attack. When this was known, sufficient quantities of sodium lactate were infused into the resting subjects so as to equal or exceed the amount produced with exercise. Pulmonary mechanics were not altered with this intervention. These findings demonstrate that lactic acidemia is not the cause of exercise-induced asthma.