Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) is a persistent environmental contaminant which has been measured in human serum, fat, semen, and follicular fluid. In animal testing HCB has been shown to be a reproductive toxin. Discrepant results were obtained from prior studies concerning the effect of HCB treatment on ovarian steroidogenesis. The current study was designed to assess the impact of HCB on the ovary and gonadal steroid levels in the superovulated rat. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 24) were dosed with HCB (0.0, 1.0, 10.0, or 100.0 mg/kg BW/day) for 21 days. All rats received 10 IU pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG) s.c. on day 18 of treatment and 15 IU of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) on day 20. A terminal blood sample was collected and circulating levels of estradiol (E2) and progesterone. (P4) were determined. Serum concentrations of P4 were significantly (p less than 0.0034) elevated by HCB treatment at all dose levels. Ovarian weights were significantly increased (p less than 0.05) in the lowest dose group only compared to the control group. Serum concentrations of E2, uterine weight, weight gain, and general animal health were not affected by HCB treatment. We conclude that during HCB treatment the rat ovary remains responsive to gonadotropin stimulation. Moreover, it is suggested that HCB effects on ovarian steroidogenesis are indirect.