The cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and mutagenicity of 1-chloro-2-hydroxy-3-butene (CHB), a known in vitro metabolite of the human carcinogen 1,3-butadiene, have not previously been investigated. Because CHB can be bioactivated by alcohol dehydrogenases to yield 1-chloro-3-buten-2-one (CBO), a bifunctional alkylating agent that caused globin-chain cross-links in erythrocytes, in the present study we investigated the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of CHB and CBO in human normal hepatocyte L02 cells using the MTT assay, the relative cloning efficiency assay and the comet assay. We also investigated the mutagenic potential of these compounds with the Ames test using Salmonella strains TA1535 and TA1537. The results provide clear evidence for CHB and CBO being both cytotoxic and genotoxic with CBO being approximately 100-fold more potent than CHB. Interestingly, CHB generated both single-strand breaks and alkali-labile sites on DNA, whereas CBO produced only alkali-labile sites. CHB did not directly result in DNA breaks, whereas CBO was capable of directly generating breaks on DNA. Interestingly, both compounds did not induce DNA cross-links as examined by the comet assay. The Ames test results showed that CHB induced point mutation but not frameshift mutation, whereas the toxic effects of CBO made it difficult to reliably assess the mutagenic potential of CBO in the two strains. Collectively, the results suggest that CHB and CBO may play a role in the mutagenicity and carcinogenicity of 1,3-butadiene.