Trace elements are those elements having a concentration lower than 10 ppm in body fluids or tissues. A total of 24 elements, both trace and minor elements, present in human milk have been analysed in this study, employing neutron activation analysis and absorption spectroscopy. The analyses have been carried out collaboratively by several different laboratories and the Agency which has also served as a coordinating centre. Although the evaluation of the results, altogether 8500 separate values, is still in progress, enough evidence is already available, however, to show some very interesting differences between different study areas and, in some cases, between different socio-economic groups within a single country. The main value of these data will probably be to throw new light on the nutritional requirements of young babies for trace elements.