Measurement of levels of exhaled nitric oxide (NO) has been proposed as a noninvasive method for evaluating the degree of airway inflammation in asthmatic patients. Some concern in the interpretation of results of such measurement may arise from possible interference by high environmental concentrations of NO inhaled by these patients. The aim of this study was to verify whether environmental concentrations of NO in the range from 0 to 150 ppb can influence levels of exhaled NO. We tested two groups of subjects. The first group, consisting of 16 subjects, was tested when environmental levels of NO were from 0 to 3 ppb and from 20 to 60 ppb, and exhaled NO mean ppb (+/- SEM) levels were 9.81 +/- 1.43 and 9.78 +/- 1.47 (p = ns) (mean +/- SEM), respectively. The second group, consisting of 30 subjects, was tested at ambient NO concentrations of 0 to 3 ppm, 80 to 100 ppm, and 120 to 150 ppb, and for 18 of these subjects who underwent testing under all three conditions investigated, the mean levels of exhaled NO were 9.23 +/- 1.51, 7.78 +/- 1.19, and 9.33 +/- 1.55 ppb (p = ns), respectively. The results of this study suggest that significantly different ambient levels of NO have no effect on levels of exhaled NO.