3-Monochloropropane-1,2-diol (alpha-chlorohydrin, 3-MCPD) is a well-known contaminant, which has been detected in a wide range of foods and ingredients, and is also a suspected cause of cancer. In this study, the carcinogenicity of 3-MCPD in SD rats was investigated. Groups of 50 male and 50 female rats were exposed for two years to drinking water containing 0, 25, 100 or 400ppm 3-MCPD. The body weights and water consumptions of the male and female rats given 400ppm 3-MCPD were significantly lower than those of the controls. The incidences of renal tubule adenomas or carcinomas and Leydig cell tumors occurred with dose-related positive trends in male rats. The incidences of renal tubule carcinomas and Leydig cell tumors were significantly increased in male rats given 400ppm 3-MCPD. The incidence of renal tubule adenomas showed a positive trend in female rats, which was significant in 400ppm 3-MCPD group. In conclusion, there was clear evidence of the carcinogenic activity of 3-MCPD in male SD rats, based on the increased incidences of renal tubule carcinomas and Leydig cell tumors. There was some evidence of the carcinogenic activity of 3-MCPD in female SD rats, based on the increased incidence of renal tubule adenomas.