This direct method for quantifying excessive urinary glycosaminoglycan excretion exploits the specific binding of 1,9-dimethylmethylene blue (DMB). The procedure obviates cumbersome and labor-intensive procedures for separating glycosaminoglycans from other constituents of urine. Pediatric pharmaceutical formulations (except heparin), in concentrations expected in urine, do not interfere with spectrophotometry, nor does protein. Results can be expressed in terms of urinary creatinine; thus the test is applicable to very small urine specimens (0.1 mL), such as those obtainable from neonates. In a pilot study, results of the direct DMB test for 48 urine specimens agreed with the clinical diagnosis, and quantitative measurements correlated moderately (r = 0.76) with results of a commonly used procedure (carbazoleborate reactivity after precipitation with cetylpyridinium chloride). The present method was also used to assess metabolic correction in a patient with Hurler's syndrome after treatment by bone-marrow transplantation. This quantitative method surmounts the major technical problems of developing mass screening programs for infants, thus offering the potential for earlier diagnosis and treatment of mucopolysaccharidosis diseases.