To investigate the influence of indoor air quality on respiratory health, a questionnaire-based study of 17,962 Canadian schoolchildren in kindergarten through grade 2 was carried out in 1988. The present report focuses on associations between several indoor environmental factors and childhood asthma. Increased reports of physician-diagnosed asthma were significantly associated (p less than 0.001) with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (OR = 1.4), living in a damp home (OR = 1.5), the use of gas for cooking (OR = 2.0) and the use of a humidifier (OR = 1.7). Wheezing without a diagnosis of asthma also was associated (p less than 0.01) with environmental tobacco smoke (OR = 1.4, home dampness (OR = 1.6) and humidifier use (OR = 1.4), but not with gas cooking. Thus, several modifiable risk factors for respiratory illness may exist in Canadian homes. Further research is required to determine the nature of these cross-sectional observations.