Human monocytes incubated with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) or opsonized zymosan particles can chlorinate the beta-amino acid taurine to its monochloramine derivative. Taurine monochloramine can then be quantitated by its ability to oxidize 5-thio-2-nitrobenzoic acid to its disulfide or by its characteristic absorption peak at 252 nm. Stimulated, but not resting, monocytes chlorinated taurine by a process dependent on time, cell concentration, and pH. The formation of taurine chloramine by stimulated monocytes could be inhibited by catalase, azide, or cyanide, was unaffected by superoxide dismutase, and was stimulated by exogenous myeloperoxidase. Thus, taurine chloramine generation by human monocytes appeared dependent on both H2O2 and myeloperoxidase. Compared to human neutrophils, the monocyte could generate similar amounts of chloramine when stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate, but far less if opsonized zymosan particles were used as the trigger. Based on the known ability of the H2O2- myeloperoxidase-Cl- system to generate free HOCl, it would seem that this oxidant is the most likely species responsible for the monocyte- mediated chlorination reactions. Thus, we have used a simple quantitative assay to demonstrate the ability of the human monocyte to generate large quantities of a highly reactive and toxic oxygen metabolite.