This study of 7,139 U.S. coal miners used linear regression analysis to relate estimates of cumulative dust exposure to several pulmonary function variables measured during medical examinations undertaken between 1969 and 1971. The exposure data included newly derived cumulative dust exposure estimates for the period up to time of examination based on large data bases of underground airborne dust sampling measurements. Negative associations were found between measures of cumulative exposure and FEV1, FVC, and the FEV1/FVC ratio (p less than 0.001). In general, the relationships were similar to those reported for British coal miners. Overall, the results demonstrate an adverse effect of coal mine dust exposure on pulmonary function that occurs even in the absence of radiographically detected pneumoconiosis.