Occupational xylene exposure in the breathing zone of 15 painters was measured during three consecutive workdays. The applicability of the use of different biological samples was tested by the monitoring of xylene concentrations in blood and exhaled air, and urinary methylhippuric acid excretion as well. The best relation to the time-weighted average of xylene exposure was obtained for urinary methylhippuric acid concentration at the end of the workday; an amount of 665 mg/g of creatinine corresponded to 50 ppm of xylene. The amount of methylhippuric acid in a morning sample at the end of the work week, on the other hand, correlated to the mean exposure of the three preceding days. Xylene concentrations in exhaled air and blood sampled after the workday correlated poorly to the exposure of the preceding day. The urinary elimination of methylhippuric acid after the finished work week showed two distinct phases of excretion, with different biological half-times (1.9-5.3 h for the first 10 h after exposure and 16.5-48.4 h for the next two days).