Male F344 rats were exposed by gavage to samples of complex mixtures and evaluated 24 hours later. Seven of the 10 samples caused death at doses ranging from 1 to 5 ml/kg body wt. Eight of the 10 samples were hepatotoxic based on histopathologic evaluation; 6 were centrilobular and 2 were periportal hepatotoxicants. The waste samples exerted toxicity through different mechanisms, as indicated by differences in the severity and lobular location of the tissue damage. With histopathological evaluation as the criterion, relative liver weight was the single best indicator of hepatotoxicity. Exposure to several of the waste samples increased serum total bilirubin and serum enzyme activities of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, and ornithine carbamyl transferase. As a battery, but not individually, the serum indicators separated the 8 hepatotoxic samples from the 2 nonhepatotoxic samples. In general, the hepatotoxicity of the waste samples did not appear to be readily predicted from (partial) chemical characterization data.