An indicator of permanent disability was used to measure the chronic health problems associated with garment work. The study population comprised 800 female sewing-machine operators employed in the Quebec garment industry between 1976 and 1985. The workers were identified from public agency records. Their disability status was obtained in a personal interview. The disability prevalence of these workers was compared to national disability data of women employed in clerical work, services, and manufacturing industries. The garment workers who had left employment had an increased prevalence of severe disability (in comparison with that of workers who had left other types of employment) and an increased prevalence of moderate and slight disability. Currently employed garment workers had an increased prevalence of moderate and slight disability when compared with workers currently employed in other occupations. The risk ratios remained similarly elevated when the data were adjusted for age and smoking status.