Disruption of the normal melatonin rhythm has many implications in health and disease. Exposure to magnetic fields is alleged to suppress nocturnal melatonin production, which could implicate magnetic fields in the development of, for example, breast cancer. Magnetic fields of overhead powerlines allegedly pose a risk in the development of childhood leukemia, and the question arises whether changed pineal function could play a role here. In this study two strains of mice were exposed to a rms 50-Hz magnetic field which varied randomly between 0.5 and 77 microT with an average of 2.75 microT and compared to sham-exposed groups. The male mice were exposed for 24 h per day from conception until adult age. Nighttime plasma melatonin values were determined using radioimmunoassay (n=9 for each time point). Statistical comparison was done by nonparametric 95% confidence intervals for median differences to determine nocturnal elevated melatonin values. Although a shortcoming of the study was the small sample size, no statistically significant difference in the nocturnal median elevated melatonin values between exposed and sham-exposed groups could be demonstrated. Long-term and continuous exposure to simulated powerline magnetic fields did not result in a decreased nocturnal melatonin secretion in mice.