1. Intratracheal instillation of sodium dichromate (CrVI) and chromium acetate hydroxide (CrIII) to male Wistar rats gave rise to increased chromium concentrations in whole blood, plasma and urine up to 72 h post exposure; peak concentrations were reached at 6 h after exposure. 2. The ratio of whole blood chromium to plasma chromium concentrations was significantly different for Cr(VI) and Cr(III) treatments. Both blood chromium and plasma chromium assays should therefore be used for the assessment of chromium exposure. 3. Chromium was also detected in peripheral lymphocytes. Cr(VI), but not Cr(III) accumulated significantly in the lymphocytes after treatment. These cells have potential to be used for biomarkers of the assessment of exposure to chromium compounds.