A field screening survey was conducted to determine if polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) are present in the environment near three industrial sites where these materials have been manufactured or used in product formulations. The sites surveyed are located in industrial areas of northeastern New Jersey and Staten Island, New York. PBBs were detected at all three sites chosen for this screening survey. The highest levels of PBBs detected were 9.8 microgram/l in waters, 60 ppb in aquatic sediments, 4.6 ppm in soils, 230 ppb in fish tissue, 92 ppm accumulated on marsh vegetation, and 431 ppm in a sludge deposit. Air samples contained traces of hexa-bromobiphenyl. Human hair samples contained up to 310 ppm of PBB in extractable oil. There is conclusive evidence of either past or ongoing wastewater-borne discharge of PBBs at all three locations and indirect evidence of airborne discharges of PBBs at two of the locations. The presence of PBBs in human hair oils is an indication of possible human exposure to this class of substances in the areas surveyed.