The 209 polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners exhibit a wide range in toxicity to fish, birds, and mammals. This paper discusses the use of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry negative chemical ionization (GC/MS-NCI) to quantify congeners of highly suspected toxicity such as IUPAC #77 (3,3',4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl) and #126 (3,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl). GC/MS analysis time needed to produce the necessary resolution was reduced to 1 h per sample or standard, allowing an autosampler to inject 12 samples in 24 hours, plus 12 standards/QC samples. Identification and quantification of some 60+ congeners and several selected pesticides and estimation of total PCBs are also possible within the 1 h analysis. For congeners of high chlorination (penta through octa), the method exhibited excellent sensitivity, such that we could not locate a fish which exhibited PCB levels below our calibrated quantitation range. NCI was not as sensitive for mono through tri and for some tetrachlorinated PCB congeners, an exception being PCB #77, for which sensitivity was of the same order as for the more highly chlorinated biphenyls. Long term stability was excellent. Over a 6-mo period, results of replicate analyses for PCB congeners and pesticides in a composited sample of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) from Lake Michigan had a relative standard deviation of 12% of the mean. Over the same time period, mean recoveries for samples spiked at concentrations similar to those in Lake Michigan lake trout were 90-102%. Response was linear over a wide range of concentrations for each of the analyzed compounds. This method is now being used for routine analysis of PCB congeners and selected pesticides in our laboratory.