Alcohol and acetaldehyde were measured in milk and peripheral blood in chronic alcoholic rats, at 5 and 15 days of lactation. Ethanol in blood increased throughout lactation and the levels of acetaldehyde were much higher than in nonlactating alcoholic rats. The concentration of acetaldehyde in milk was always ca. 50% of that in blood, whereas that of ethanol varied within the range of 44-80% of the blood levels. Blood alcohol levels in the corresponding sucking pups were much lower than in maternal blood and increased throughout lactation. The time course of ethanol and acetaldehyde concentration in blood and milk were determined in normal lactating rats after cyanamide (40 mg/kg) and ethanol administration (2 or 4 g/kg). Milk alcohol reached higher concentrations than in blood within the first hour of ethanol administration, decreasing and remaining constant thereafter at ca. 65% of those in blood. Acetaldehyde levels in milk were always 35-45% lower than in blood. No alcohol dehydrogenase activity was found in homogenates of mammary tissue; however there was some aldehyde dehydrogenase activity. A significant decrease in mammary tissue aldehyde dehydrogenase was found in chronic alcoholic rats. The role of this enzyme is discussed.