Non-BCG-vaccinated schoolchildren (8 or 9 years of age) were simultaneously tested on separate arms with 2 IU PPD RT23 and 0.1 microgram Mycobacterium avium sensitin RS10 or 0.1 microgram Mycobacterium scrofulaceum sensitin RS95. None of the 2819 analysed children had any known exposure to tuberculosis. A total of 3.4% reacted with an induration greater than or equal to 6 mm to PPD RT23. Half the number of children were tested with M. avium sensitin and 25.4% reacted while the remaining were tested with M. scrofulaceum sensitin and 32.4% reacted when the cut-off was 6 mm. For about 90% of the children the sensitin reaction was larger than or equal to the tuberculin (PPD RT23) reaction. Correlation analyses showed that moderate and high PPD RT23 values were combined with still higher sensitin values, indicating that the tuberculin reactions were mainly cross-reactions due to the antigenic similarity between tuberculin and sensitins. The presence of birds, dogs and cats in the homes was combined with an increased frequency of children reacting to the sensitins used. The children with reactions to PPD RT23 greater than or equal to 6 mm were examined and chest X-rays were performed. None of them showed any signs or symptoms of mycobacterial disease. In non-BCG-vaccinated Swedish schoolchildren without clinical signs of tuberculosis and without known contact with a contagious tuberculous person, indurations less than 12 to 14 mm on tuberculin testing are probably caused by atypical mycobacteria. In such cases sensitin tests should be performed to verify the suspicion.