Hepatitis B virus (HBV) serum markers (HBsAg, anti-HBs, anti-HBc) and antihepatitis C antibody (anti-HCV) were prospectively followed in haemodialysis and CAPD patients. From January 1987 to January 1990, 185 patients on haemodialysis and 124 on CAPD were analysed. Among patients susceptible to HBV (69 on haemodialysis and 70 on CAPD), there were 17 HBsAg seroconversions on haemodialysis (0.19/patient-year) and 1 on CAPD (0.01/patient-year). A Cox proportional hazards model showed that haemodialysis treatment was the only risk factor significantly associated with HBV infection, thus suggesting transmission through the environment. Regarding hepatitis C, 83 anti-HCV-negative patients on haemodialysis and 46 on CAPD were followed. There were 18 seroconversions on haemodialysis (0.15/patient-year) and two seroconversions on CAPD (0.03/patient-year). Haemodialysis treatment was also the only risk factor significantly associated with a higher risk of HCV infection. The hazard ratio for HCV infection in haemodialysis patients was 5.7 compared to CAPD patients. Nevertheless, for one patient on CAPD treatment transfusions were the only possible source of HCV infection. In conclusion, both viruses were transmitted mainly through the haemodialysis environment, but the role of transfusions could not be excluded.