The mammalian ventilatory behavior exhibits nonlinear dynamics as reflected by certain nonlinearity or complexity indicators (e.g. correlation dimension, approximate entropy, Lyapunov exponents...) but this is not sufficient to determine its possible chaotic nature. To address this, we applied the noise titration technique, previously shown to discern and quantify chaos in short and noisy time series, to ventilatory flow recordings obtained in quietly breathing normal humans. Nine subjects (8 men and 1 woman, 24-42 yrs) were studied during 15-minute epochs of ventilatory steady-state (10.1 +/- 3.0 breaths/minute, tidal volume 0.63 +/- 0.2L). Noise titration applied to the unfiltered signals subsampled at 5 Hz detected nonlinearity in all cases (noise limit 20.2 +/- 12.5%). Noise limit values were weakly correlated to the correlation dimension and the largest Lyapunov exponent of the signals. This study shows that the noise titration approach evidences a chaotic dimension to the behavior of ventilatory flow over time in normal humans during tidal breathing.