Abstract Six halogenated anaesthetics were tested for their ability to induce micronuclei formation in the rat kidney. A statistically significant increase in the frequency of micronucleated cells was detected in rats given a single p.o. dose of 4 mmol/kg of halothane (3.48×baseline), chloroform (3.32×baseline), trichloroethylene (3.24×baseline), sevoflurane (2.98×baseline), and isoflurane (2.95×baseline). In contrast, the response was substantially negative in rats given the same dose of enflurane. As compared to controls, rats treated with halothane and trichloroethylene displayed a reduction in the frequency of binucleated cells presumably due to a toxicity-induced inhibition of cellular proliferation. These findings suggest a potential genotoxic activity of halogenated anaesthetics for the rat kidney.