A comparative study on the effect of chlorobenzenes and chlorophenols on mitochondrial membranes was conducted. An increase in chlorine residue from both chlorobenzenes and chlorophenols caused a decrease in respiratory control index (RCI). Chlorophenols acted on biomembranes at a lower concentration than chlorobenzenes. The compounds decreased RCI by increasing state 4 respiration and decreasing state 3 respiration. As the number of chlorine atoms on chlorobenzenes increased, state 3 respiration decreased, causing a decrease in RCI. As the number of chlorine atoms on chlorophenols increased, state 4 respiration increased, causing a decreased in RCI. The amount of potassium released from mitochondrial membranes increased with time after addition of dichlorobenzene and dichlorophenol. A logarithmic increase in potassium release vs. time was observed with dichlorobenzene, and a liner increase in potassium release was observed with dichlorophenol.