Liver sections of winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) collected from Jamaica Bay and Shinnecock Bay, New York, in 1989, were examined microscopically to determine the pervasiveness of liver lesions observed previously in Jamaica Bay winter flounder. Neoplastic lesions were not detected in fish from Jamaica Bay or the Shinnecock Bay reference site. Twenty-two percent of Jamaica Bay winter flounder examined (n = 103) had unusual vacuolization of hepatocytes and biliary pre-ductal and ductal cells (referred to hereafter as the vacuolated cell lesion). The lesion, identical to that found in 25% of Jamaica Bay winter flounder examined in 1988, has previously been identified in fishes taken from highly polluted regions of the Atlantic coast (e.g., Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, and Black Rock Harbor, Connecticut). Prevalence of the vacuolated cell lesion in winter flounder from Jamaica Bay was significantly greater (p < 0.0001) than in 102 specimens collected from Shinnecock Bay. Current scientific literature indicates vacuolated hepatocytes and cholangiocytes are chronically injured and that the extent of their deformity is consistent with the action of a hepatotoxicant. The high prevalence of vacuolated hepatocytes in Jamaica Bay winter flounder and absence of the lesion in flounder from reference sites strongly supports the hypothesis that this impairment is a manifestation of a toxic condition in at least some portions of Jamaica Bay.