It has been reported that children may experience different levels of chemical exposures than adults and that their sensitivities to chemical toxins may be increased or decreased when compared to adults. The perinatal period is one period in which these susceptibilities may be examined. Midwives at the Bradford Royal Infirmary collected venous blood samples from mothers at the time of birth and venous cord blood post-delivery. Lymphocytes were isolated from both blood types and examined in the alkaline comet assay using the monofunctional alkylating agent ethyl methanesulphonate (EMS). There were no biologically significant differences when subjects were categorized into subgroups based on lifestyle habits and physical characteristics, and overall there were no statistically significant differences in levels of DNA damage in mothers (n=22) and babies (n=22), except at the basal level (P<0.05), but mean values in babies were always lower over the EMS dose range. Whole blood was used in the micronucleus (MN) assay, and there was a significantly (P<0.05) higher rate of MN in mothers (n=17), per 1000 binucleates, as compared with lymphocytes from their offspring (n=17) at the basal level. This may be accounted for by age and endogenous factors. Overall, this current study cannot provide statistically significant evidence that children have either increased or decreased levels of susceptibility to a chemical toxin in comparison to adults when EMS is examined in vitro.