The Centre for Environment and Health in Flanders, the Northern part of Belgium, started a biomonitoring program on adolescents in 2003. 1679 adolescents residing in nine areas with different patterns of pollution participated in the study. Possible confounding effects of lifestyle and personal characteristics were taken into account. The geometric mean levels of cadmium and lead in whole blood amounted to 0.36 and 21.7 microg l(-1), those of PCBs, DDE and HCB in serum to 68, 94 and 20.9 ng g(-1) fat, and those of 1-hydroxypyrene and t,t'-muconic acid in urine to 88 ng g(-1) creatinine and 72 microg g(-1) creatinine. Significant regional differences in internal lead, cadmium, PCBs, DDE and HCB exposure were observed in function of area of residence, even after adjustment for age, sex, smoking (and body mass index for the chlorinated compounds). Compared to a reference mean, internal exposure was significantly higher in one or more of the areas: Cd and Pb in the Antwerp agglomeration, Cd in the Antwerp harbour, PCBs in the Ghent agglomeration, PCBs, DDE and HCB in the Ghent harbour, Cd, PCBs, DDE and HCB in the rural area, DDE in Olen and in the Albert canal areas. Adolescents living in an area with intensive fruit cultivation (showing overall the lowest values) and, surprisingly, in areas around household waste incinerators (average of six areas), had no significantly increased internal exposures. Subjects from separate areas around waste incinerators showed significant differences in body load of various environmental contaminants.