The excretion of cadium and mercury in saliva was studied in urethane-anesthetized male rats given single intravenous injections of 109CdCl2 or 203HgCl2 (0.1 or 1.0 mg divalent cation/kg). Pilocarpine (20 mg/kg, ip) was used to stimulate salivation. All doses produced a distinct and persistent increase in blood pressure (15-25 mm Hg), an increase in salivary flow rate and an increase (19-26%) in salivary gland weight. Metal levels in saliva (S) and submaxillary gland tissue (T), relative to blood (B), plasma (P), and filtrate (F) were determined. Cadmium and mercury were detected in S and T at both doses. The following relative order was apparent: S/F > S/P approx. S/B. S/F ratios were > 1, suggesting a concentrating effect by the salivary gland. S/B and S/P ratios for mercury increased with increasing dose; S/B and S/P ratios for cadmium decreased with increasing dose. Similar dose-related effects were apparent in the T/B and T/P ratios.