This study was conducted to assess whether female mortality from lung cancer is associated with residence in communities adjacent to a petroleum refinery plant and whether petroleum air pollution could affect the sex ratios of births. The Kaohsiung Refinery of the Chinese Petroleum Corp. is the oldest oil refinery in Taiwan and is located between the Tso-Ying and the Nan-Tzu municipalities. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for female lung cancer and sex ratios of births were calculated for each municipality for the years 1971-1996. Cumulative-sum techniques were used to detect the occurrence of changes in the SMRs. The study results show that mortality from female lung cancer rose gradually about 30 to 37 years after the operation of a petroleum refinery plant began. However, the association between exposure to the petroleum air pollution and abnormal sex ratios at birth was not significant.