In the present study, data on the concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in air samples from fish smokehouses (Nordholm et al. 1986) and meat smokehouses (Hansen et al. submitted for publication) were used to analyze the extent to which six different volatile PAH compounds could function as markers for the total concentration of six different carcinogenic particulate PAH compounds. Although a significant positive correlation was observed between the concentration of each of six volatile compounds and the total concentration of carcinogenic PAH compounds, a particularly good correlation was observed for phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene and pyrene. Calculations of the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of these potential markers revealed that naphthalene and phenanthrene exhibited the highest sensitivity as markers for total carcinogenic PAH compounds in air samples from smokehouses, whereas fluoranthene and pyrene displayed the highest specificity. However, when the applicability of the six markers was tested on air samples from iron foundries, only naphthalene and pyrene were useful as markers for the carcinogenic compounds. The present study indicates that naphthalene and pyrene might function as markers for carcinogenic PAH compounds, that are present at low concentrations and are therefore difficult and time-consuming to measure directly.