In 1954 a then 31-yr-old male was found to have erythrocytosis. Over the ensuing decade he received 72 mCi32P. In 1964 his daughters were found to have erythrocytosis. Further investigation led to the discovery of hemoglobin Yakima, a variant with high oxygen affinity. He received no further therapy and was well until 1975, when he developed the preleukemic syndrome. Within 12 mo. he developed acute nonlymphocytic leukemia accompanied by fetal erythropoiesis. Because the inital discovery of this type of hemoglobinopathy came 27 yr after the introduction of 32P for use in the treatment of polycythemia vera, and because there are now known to be more than 39 different high- oxygen-affinity hemoglobins, we anticipate that more patients such as ours have been exposed to 32P. The exposed population should be cosely followed, since this will likely permit assessment of the risk of 32P- induced leukemia in a nonneoplastic condition.