We describe a new dip- and read dipstick that detects urine albumin at concentrations of 10 mg/l and above and urine creatinine at concentrations of 300 mg/l and above. The albumin assay is based on a high-affinity, dye-binding technique while the creatinine assay is based on the peroxidase-like activity of copper creatinine complexes. With these two-test dipsticks, urines from normal adults supplemented with albumin and creatinine were correctly identified to within +/- 15% of the expected value for both analytes; the between-day coefficients of variation ranged from 7.1% to 16.1%. We tested 275 patients' unmodified urines by the Bayer and Boehringer Mannheim Micral-Test albumin dipsticks and for albumin with the Beckman Array on the same specimens. We also analyzed 42 selected urines from the group of 275 for albumin by another quantitative immunochemical method and by electrophoresis plus a total protein method to estimate the albumin concentration. The quantitative immunochemical methods appear to underestimate the urine albumin concentrations; in these 42 urines measured as negative, i.e., < ca. 16-20 mg/l, by one of the quantitative method but positive by the Bayer dipstick, 33 of these were positive by the electrophoresis/total protein assay combination. The Bayer albumin dipstick correctly identified urines as having < 16 mg/l or > or = 16 mg/l at an 80% rate. At a cutoff of 20 mg/l, the rate increased to 87%. We also determined the urinary albumin/creatinine ratios on the 275 patients using the Bayer two-pad dipstick and found agreement 84% of the time with the same ratio obtained from a quantitative immunochemical method for albumin and a rate-Jaffe method for creatinine; an albumin/creatinine ratio (mg/g) of 30 was used as the discrimination point. Albumin stability studies performed on the Beckman Array patients with six fresh urines showed small but consistent decreases at -20 degrees C but not at 4 degrees C after one month of storage. The albumin in contrived urines, as estimated by electrophoreses/total protein and by the dipsticks did not change at these storage conditions. Boric acid at 1 g/l as a urine preservative had no effect on the measurement of albumin by any of the methods described here nor of the assay of creatinine. Other urinary proteins present at abnormal excretion rates did not interfere with the Bayer albumin dipstick. Abnormal concentrations of bilirubin, citrate, creatine, ascorbic acid, albumin, hemoglobin and myoglobin in urine did not interfere with the creatinine dipstick measurements. The first four of the above did not affect the Bayer dipstick results for albumin.