We determined the relationship between bone mass and age, anthropometric variables, creatinine clearance (Ccr), and serum and urine biochemical variables in 77 normal white women (aged 41-86, mean = 67) living in their own homes. A total of 74 women were postmenopausal. Skeletal status was assessed in all subjects by x-rays of the hand with measurement of the mean combined cortical thickness (CCT) of the second metacarpal bones. In 53 women, bone mineral content of the radial shaft (RMBC) was also measured by single-photon absorptiometry (SPA) and lumbar bone mineral density (LBMD) was measured by dual-photon absorptiometry (DPA). Serum and urine biochemical variables were measured under standardized conditions on the sixth and seventh days of a controlled diet. There was a strong positive correlation between Ccr and bone mass. Although our subjects showed the expected linear decline in Ccr with age, we found that the relationship between Ccr and bone mass in the radius and lumbar spine was independent of age. On the other hand, the relationship between Ccr and CCT was not independent of age. We concluded that the relationship between Ccr and lumbar and radial bone mass is probably indicative of a relationship between glomerular filtration rate and bone mass, although this requires validation with a noncreatinine method for measurement of glomerular filtration rate. Age per se does not appear to be a cause of declining lumbar bone mass after the menopause.