The cadmium contents of 94 and 105 foodstuffs bought in six-fold repetition in 1988 and in nine-fold repetition in 1991, respectively were analysed within the framework of a market-basket study. These foodstuffs were typical of German eating habits. Additionally, 170 samples of drinking water were investigated. The cadmium concentrations of the foodstuffs were comparable with results of recent studies carried out in Europe and North America. Fruit, milk and dairy products, sugar and sugar-rich foodstuffs as well as beverages showed mean cadmium contents < or = 5 ng/g fresh matter or ng/ml, respectively. The cadmium content of meat, sausage, fish and tinned fish was also low. Pork and beef, the most important kinds of meat, contained 5.4 and 2.5 ng/g on average. The majority of the vegetables investigated, including potatoes, had cadmium concentrations < 25 ng/g. However, individuals samples of lettuce showed very high cadmium levels. The cadmium content of bread, cakes and pastries as well as farinaceous products were within the range of 20-40 ng/g. The most important bread, cakes and pastries (wheat and rye bread, toasted bread, rolls) contained 25-35 ng/g. A median cadmium concentration of 0.2 micrograms/l was found in the drinking water. As expected, liver and kidneys showed the highest cadmium levels of 73 and 204 ng/g, respectively on average.