Gamma ray transmission measurements have been used to evaluate the water equivalence of solid phantoms. Technetium-99m was used in narrow beam geometry and the transmission of photons measured, using a gamma camera, through varying thickness of the solid phantom material and water. Measured transmission values were compared with Monte Carlo calculated transmission data using the EGSnrc Monte Carlo code to score fluence in a geometry similar to that of the measurements. The results indicate that the RMI457 Solid Water, CMNC Plastic Water and PTW RW3 solid phantoms had similar transmission values as compared to water to within ± 1.5 %. However, Perspex had a greater deviation in the transmission values up to ± 4 %. The agreement between the measured and EGSnrc calculated transmission values agreed to within ± 1 % over the range of phantom thickness studied. The linear attenuation coefficients at the gamma ray energy of 140.5 keV were determined from the measured and EGSnrc calculated transmission data and compared with predicted values derived from data provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) using the XCOM program. The coefficients derived from the measured data were up to 6% lower than those predicted by the XCOM program, while the coefficients determined from the Monte Carlo calculations were between measured and XCOM values. The results indicate that a similar process can be followed to determine the water equivalency of other solid phantoms and at other photon energies. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.