Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were extracted from coal fly ash collected from the electrostatic precipitator of a thermal power plant. The PAH extract was given intratracheally daily to pregnant rats (2 mg/100 g body weight) on d 18 and 19 of gestation. In addition on d 19 of gestation rats were also given [3H]benzo[a]pyrene intratracheally. Rats were sacrificed on d 20 of gestation, and the distribution of [3H]benzo[a]pyrene radioactivity and PAH of coal fly ash was studied in maternal lung, liver, and placenta, as well as in the liver and lung of the fetus. The radioactivity of intratracheally given benzo[a]pyrene was found in liver (68%), placenta (4%), fetal lung (1.9%), and fetal liver (1.4%) of maternal lung. Intratracheally administered PAH of coal fly ash were translocated to maternal liver and placenta, as well as to the liver and lung of the fetus. PAH of coal fly ash were also metabolized to several minor and major metabolites by maternal lung, liver, and placenta, as well as by the maternal fetal liver and lung. Some of the PAH metabolites in lung and liver were common; however, the major metabolite of liver, M-16, was different from the major metabolite M-16 of lung. The major PAH metabolite of placenta, M-5, and fetal liver, F-12, were common PAH metabolites. M-2 and M-6 of the placenta and F-5 and F-10 of the fetal lung were also common.