Liquid chromatography with atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation mass spectrometry (LC/APCI-MS), using negative ion detection in a triple quadrupole instrument, was used for the determination of chlorophenols (CPs) in environmental samples. In-source collision-induced dissociation (CID) was compared with MS/MS fragmentation. In general, less fragmentation was observed in MS/MS as compared with in-source CID, with the latter providing more intense fragment ions due to chemical ionisation. Under MS/MS conditions [M − H − HCl]− was the main fragment ion observed for all compounds except for pentachlorophenol, which showed no fragmentation. For multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) acquisition mode, the transition from [M − H]− to [M − H − HCl]− was selected, leading to detection limits down to 0.3 ng injected. Direct and headspace-solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) were used as preconcentration procedures for the analysis of CPs in wood and in industrially contaminated soils. CPs were quantified by standard addition, which led to good reproducibility (RSD between 4 and 11%) in both SIM and MRM modes, and detection limits down to ng/g. The combination of MS/MS and in-source CID allowed confirmation of the presence of CPs in environmental samples. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.