Teratogenicity of coal liquefaction products (CLP) was assessed in the pregnant rat. Three product streams of CLP (medium, hydrotreated medium and heavy fractions) were each administered dermally on Sprague-Dawley rats at doses of 125, 250 or 500 mg kg-1 day-1 from Day 6 through to Day 15 of gestation. Depressed maternal weight gain and reduced number of fetuses resulting from an increased resorption rate, decreased fetal weight and retarded ossification were observed in the group treated with the heavy fraction at a dose of 500 mg kg-1 day-1. The heavy fraction at 500 mg kg-1 day-1 also caused anaemia and increased liver and spleen weights in dams. The dams exposed to the highest dose of three CLP fractions had mild and adaptative hepatic changes consisting of increased cytoplasmic eosinophilia and nuclear anisokaryosis. No treatment-related histological changes were observed in fetuses. None of the fractions demonstrated any teratological effects.