As part of a detailed experimental study of the pathogenicity of disease of slate dust workers, the early biochemical changes in rat lung from 1 to 90 days after intratracheal inoculation of slate dust of particle size below 5 micron were investigated. A severalfold increase in free cell population (initially macrophages) was elicited by the dust. The free activity of acid phosphatase tended to increase along with a break of lysosomal latency with increasing exposure period. However, actual release of enzyme activity into the acellular fraction was low. The phospholipid content varied both in cellular and acellular fractions, indicating altered turnover of membrane lipids and surfactants. At advanced periods of the study, sialic was found to be released into the acellular fraction, indicating membrane damage. Considerable decrease in glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity and free sulfhydryl content and enhanced osmotic fragility of erythrocytes were also recorded. These results indicate the potential toxicity of slate mine dust.