The effects of metallic ions and solvents on the function of alveolar macrophages (AM) were studied. AM from male Long-Evans- hooded-rats were incubated with or without cadmium (7440439) (Cd), mercury (7439976) (Hg), nickel (7440020) (Ni), lead (7439921) (Pb), aluminum (7429905) (Al), chromium (7440473) (Cr), or iron (7439896) (Fe) ions, or carbon-tetrachloride (56235), toluene (108883), or xylene (1330207), and AM functional responses were measured. Oxygen (O2) consumption and chemiluminescence were the AM functions most sensitive to metal effects. Metal ions decreased O2 consumption by 70 to 90 percent; Hg was the most potent inhibitor followed in decreasing order by Al, Fe, Cd, Pb, Cr, and Ni. In decreasing order of effectiveness, release of superoxide anions by AM was inhibited 70 to 85 percent by Hg, Ni, Cd, Pb, Al, Fe, and Cr. Carbon- tetrachloride, toluene, and xylene did not significantly inhibit superoxide anion release, but O2 consumption was decreased 74, 67, and 72 percent, respectively. The integrity of AM cell membranes was not affected in 90 percent of cells by high concentrations of metal ions. The authors conclude that exposure to metallic ions and solvents is toxic to the AM of rats.