Heavy metals are omnipresent in the environment, and industrial use has greatly increased their presence in soil, water and air. Their inevitable transfer to the human food chain remains an important environmental issue as many heavy metals cause a range of toxic effects, including developmental toxicity. Administration of chromium VI (1 and 2 mg/kg as potassium dichromate) through intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection during organogenesis (days 6 to 15 of gestation) in rats revealed embryo- and fetotoxic effects. Reduced fetal weight, retarded fetal development, number of fetuses per mother and high incidences of dead fetuses and resorptions in treated mothers were also observed. Gross morphological abnormalities, such as displayed form of edema, facial defect, lack of tail, hypotrophy, severs subdermal haemorrhage patches and hypotrophy of placenta were observed in fetuses after chromium VI-treated mothers. A skeletal development of fetuses presented an incomplete ossification in nasal, cranium, abdominal or caudal bones in rats treated with 1 mg/kg of chromium, whereas rats treated with 2 mg/kg showed ossification and absence of the sacral vertebrae compared with the control. At a higher dose of chromium, histological changes were found in fetuses with atrophy of theirs vital organs. Placental histological observations revealed a pronounced morphological alteration, with atrophy of decidual cells, a degenerated of chorionic villi and hypertrophy of blood lacuna. The present study suggests a risk to the developing embryo when the mother is exposed to a high concentration of chromium VI during organogenesis.