Vinyl chloride has recently been shown to cause a malignant liver tumor disease in man after occupational exposure in PVC plants. This actualizes the problem of whether such hazards could be avoided or at least diminished in the future by a screening for mutagenicity of chemicals used in industries. The basis for such a screening procedure is the close correlation between carcinogenic and mutagenic effects of chemicals. Experiments with Salmonella bacteria showed that the carcinogenic hazard of vinyl chloride could have been traced by means of mutagenicity tests. The data indicate that vinyl chloride is not mutagenic per se but becomes mutagenic after a metabolic activation in the liver. 24 references, 1 figure, 4 tables.