Aqueous, caffeine free and tannin fractions of commercial tea and tannic acid were tested for mutagenicity in Ames test. Tea fractions of tannic acid were non mutagenic in strains TA 100, TA 98, TA 1535 and TA 1538 of Salmonella typhimurium with or without metabolic activation (rat-S9 mix) at different doses tested. In strain TA 98 the above tea fractions and tannic acid inhibited the S9 mix mediated mutagenicity of tobacco in a dose dependent manner. The different tea fractions at 60 degrees C, did not increase the tumor incidence in Swiss mice by gavage feeding. They also failed to produce tumors when injected subcutaneously. Caffeine free tea extract decreased the tobacco induced liver tumors but had no effect on lung tumors. The same fraction was ineffective in hexachlorocyclohexane induced liver tumors in Swiss mice.