The effects of two fungicides (carbendazim and chlorothalonil) on the induction of DNA damage in human peripheral blood lymphocytes (human PBL) have been investigated using the single cell gel electrophoresis assay (SCGE assay or comet assay) immediately after a 1-h treatment and after a 24-h post-treatment incubation. The assessment of etoposide (an effective antitumour agent) effects on human PBL in terms of cell viability and dose-DNA damage relationships was made and etoposide selected as a positive control. The results indicate that etoposide induces significant (p < 0.01) dose-dependent DNA damages for concentrations at which the loss of cell viability is low. After a 24-h recuperation period, all observed DNA damages has disappeared. With SCGE assay performed after a 1-h treatment, similar positive results were observed with chlorothalonil alone or in association with carbendazim, without any loss of cell viability. However, a dramatic loss of cell viability was measured after 24 h and was associated with a large proportion of highly damaged cells. In contrast, carbendazim was not cytotoxic on human PBL and did not induced DNA damage using the SCGE assay either immediately after treatment or after a 24-h post-treatment incubation. These results point to the necessity of an adequate evaluation of immediate and long-term cytotoxicity of compounds that are to be assessed by the SCGE assay.