This study was conducted to examine the influence of dietary fat on the metabolism and excretion of hexachlorobenzene (HCB), a ubiquitous food contaminant which is metabolized at a low rate. Three groups of rats were fed semi-purified diets containing 10 g/100 g of either soybean oil, lard or fish oil for 2 wk and then given a single dose of HCB by intragastric gavage. The concentrations of HCB and pentachlorophenol (PCP), a major metabolite of HCB, were monitored in the blood for 5 d. Fecal excretion of HCB did not differ among the three groups, indicating no difference in HCB retained in the body among the groups. Concentrations of HCB in blood, liver and brain samples from the lard and fish oil groups, the members of which had a low fat tissue mass, were consistently higher as compared with those in samples from the soybean oil group. The concentration of PCP and the PCP/HCB ratio in the blood were higher in the fish oil group than in the other groups. In addition, the amount of PCP excreted in urine was highest in the fish oil group. The hepatic cytochrome P-450 content in the fish oil group was higher than that in the other groups. These findings indicate that feeding fish oil to rats accelerated HCB metabolism. An increase in hepatic HCB concentration due to a small fat tissue mass and high hepatic cytochrome P-450 content may have played a role in accelerating HCB metabolism in the fish oil group.