3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol (3-MCPD) is a food contaminant that occurs during industrial production processes and can be found mainly in fat and salt containing products. 3-MCPD has exhibited mutagenic activity in vitro but not in vivo, however, a genotoxic mechanism for the occurrence of kidney tumors has not so far been excluded. The main pathway of mammalian 3-MCPD metabolism is via the formation of - chlorolactatic acid and formation of glycidol has been demonstrated in bacterial metabolism. The aim of this study was to investigate genotoxic and oxidative DNA damaging effects of 3-MCPD and its metabolites, and to provide a better understanding of their roles in DNA repair processes. DNA damage was assessed by alkaline comet assay in target rat kidney epithelial cell lines (NRK-52E) and human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293). Purine and pyrimidine base damage, H2O2 sensitivity and DNA repair capacity were assessed via modified comet assay. The results revealed in vitro evidence for increased genotoxicity and H2O2 sensitivity. No association was found between oxidative DNA damage and DNA repair capacity with the exception of glycidol treatment at 20 mu g/mL. These findings provide further insights into the mechanisms underlying the in vitro genotoxic potential of 3-MCPD and metabolites. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.