Summary The eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) is a specific cytotoxic constituent of granules. In this work we demonstrated that ECP has a ribonuclease activity. Purified ECP was resolved by ion exchange chromatography into subfractions, which all showed ribonuclease activity. Another eosinophil granule protein, EPX, identical with eosinophil-derived neurotoxin (EDN) had a 125-fold higher RNase activity than ECP. ECP may exert its cytotoxic effects on parasites and cells because of its extreme basicity alone or it may be internalized and act by degrading mRNA.