One hundred bred Fischer-344 female rats were exposed daily for 6 hours to atmospheres containing 0, 100, 500, or 1,500 ppm methyl chloride, 25 females per exposure concentration, from gestation day (gd) 7 through gd 19. On gd 20, the females were sacrificed for evaluation of maternal reproductive and fetal parameters. Maternal and fetal toxicity was apparent at the highest exposure concentration. There were no methyl chloride-induced external, skeletal, or visceral abnormalities seen in the fetuses. One hundred thirty-two C57BL/6 female mice bred to C3H males to produce B6C3F1 offspring were exposed daily for 6 hours to atmospheres containing 0, 100, 500, or 1,500 ppm methyl chloride, 33 females per exposure concentration, from gd 6 through gd 17. Exposure to the entire 1,500-ppm group was terminated on gd 10-14, with the animals killed in extremis. Selective necrosis of neurons in the internal granular layer of the cerebellum, ranging from individual cell involvement to focal areas comprising large numbers of neurons, was found in all females. On gd 18, the females from the other treatment groups, all of which survived, were killed for evaluation of maternal reproductive and fetal parameters. No evidence was seen of maternal or fetal toxicity in these exposure groups. There were no significant alterations in external appearance in fetuses from any of the exposure groups. Visceral examination of mouse fetuses revealed a small, but statistically significant, incidence of heart defects in litters of the 500-ppm group. The anomaly, a reduction or absence of the atrioventricular valve, chordae tendineae, and papillary muscle, was observed on the left side (bicuspid valve) in three fetuses and the right side (tricuspid valve) in six fetuses: three males and six females. It is concluded that methyl chloride inhalation exposure in pregnant rats, during critical periods of embryo and fetal development, is not teratogenic at concentrations which elicit maternal and fetal toxicity. In pregnant mice, methyl chloride was severely toxic to dams following 4 days or more of exposure to 1,500 ppm in air. Methyl chloride, at 500, but not 100 ppm, was teratogenic in mice, leading to a malformation in the heart. No embryo-fetal toxicity or teratogenicity was associated with exposure of mice, during critical periods of embryo and fetal development, to 100 ppm of ethyl chloride.