Styrene is a widely used chemical that causes both liver and lung damage in mice. Strain and sex differences in susceptibility to styrene-induced toxicity have been reported. Understanding the relationship of the metabolism of styrene to its toxicity depends upon knowing the balance between the bioactivation of styrene to the epoxide by cytochromes P-450 and the detoxication of the oxide to the glycol by microsomal epoxide hydrolase. When hepatic and pulmonary microsomal preparations from non-Swiss albino (NSA) and Swiss (CD-1) mice were compared for their abilities to metabolize racemic, S- and R-styrene oxide to styrene glycol, enzymic activities were higher in liver than in lung. R-Styrene glycol formation was favored with racemic styrene oxide as the substrate. Only minor strain differences were found that could not account for the differences in reported susceptibility to styrene-induced toxicity. While the oxidation of styrene to styrene oxide was similar in male and female NSA mice, male hepatic microsomes were more active in the metabolism of the oxide to the glycol. Hepatic metabolism of styrene oxide to styrene glycol was inducible by butylated hydroxyanisole, whereas pulmonary metabolism was not. The data indicate that strain differences in susceptibility cannot be accounted for by this detoxication step, and there are sex differences in this reaction.