This study tested the capacity of different irradiances of monochromatic light to reduce plasma melatonin in normal humans. Six healthy male volunteers, 24-34 years old, were exposed to 0.01, 0.3, 1.6, 5, or 13 microW/cm2 of 509 nm monochromatic light for 1 h during the night on separate occasions. Light irradiance depressed plasma melatonin in a dose-response pattern. The data indicate that the mean threshold irradiance for suppressing melatonin is between 1.6 and 5 microW/cm2. Individual variations in threshold responses to monochromatic light were observed among the volunteers.