We evaluated the influence of waterborne and dietary lead (Pb) exposure on the acute and chronic toxicity of Pb to the amphipod Hyalella azteca. Test solutions were generated by a modified diluter with an extended (24-h) equilibration period. Acute (96-h) toxicity of Pb varied with water hardness in the range of 71 to 275 mg/L as CaCO3, despite similar dissolved Pb concentrations. Acute toxicity was greatest in soft test water, with less than 50% survival at the lowest dissolved Pb concentration (151 μg/L). Survival also was significantly reduced in medium-hardness water but not in hard test water. In chronic (42-d) studies, amphipods were exposed to waterborne Pb and fed either a control diet or a diet equilibrated with waterborne Pb levels. For animals fed the control diet, the median lethal concentration (LC50) for Pb was 24 μg/L (as dissolved Pb), and significant reductions in survival occurred at 16 μg/L. Exposure to Pb-treated diets significantly increased toxicity across a wide range of dissolved Pb concentrations, with a LC50 of 16 μg/L and significant reductions in growth and reproduction at 3.5 μg/L. Significant effects on growth and reproduction occurred at dissolved Pb concentrations close to the current U.S. chronic water-quality criterion. Our results suggest that both aqueous- and dietary-exposure pathways contribute significantly to chronic Pb exposure and toxic effects in aquatic biota.