1,3-Dichloro-2-propanol (1,3-DCP-OH, glycerol dichlorohydrin) is of great importance in many industrial processes and has been detected in foodstuffs, in particular in soup spices and instant soups. It has been shown to be carcinogenic, genotoxic and mutagenic. Its genotoxic mechanisms are, however, not yet entirely understood. We have investigated whether alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) catalysed activation to the highly mutagenic and carcinogenic 1,3-dichloroacetone or formation of epichlorohydrin or other genotoxic compounds play a role for mutagenicity and genotoxicity. In our studies, no indications of ADH catalysed formation of 1,3-dichloropropane could be found, although we could demonstrate a clear activation by ADH in the case of 2-chloropropenol. Formation of allyl chloride could also be excluded. We found, however, clear evidence that epichlorohydrin formed chemically in the buffer and medium used in the test is responsible for genotoxicity. No indication was found that enzymatic formation of epichlorohydrin plays a role. Additional mutagenicity and genotoxicity studies with epichlorohydrin also confirmed the hypothesis that genotoxic effects of 1,3-DCP-OH depend on the chemical formation of epichlorohydrin.