Asbestos is known to induce oxidative stress in the lung. The consumption of butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) in preserved food and soft drinks is increasing in the general population, which includes workers in asbestos factories. Because there is no information on the effect of co-exposure to chrysotile and BHA, the time-dependent effects of a single intratracheal dose of chrysotile (1 mg per mouse) and a single ip dose of BHA (350 mg/kg body weight) on various indices of oxidative stress such as lipid peroxidation, hydrogen peroxide generation, glutathione peroxidase (GPX), glutathione reductase (GR), catalase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) and glutathione (GSH) were followed for up to 14 days. Microsomal lipid peroxidation (as well as that induced by NADPH) was significantly enhanced by BHA in the chrysotile-exposed group. GPX and GR activities in the same group were gradually decreased by BHA. Non-significant modulation of catalase activity by BHA was also noted. BHA induces GSH to a significant extent in lungs exposed with chrysotile. An increase in the G6PDH activity was maximal (19%; P < 0.05) at day 3. The results clearly demonstrate that BHA enhances chrysotile-induced oxidative stress in the lung. © 1995.