Nine selected census tracts containing 12 toxic-waste disposal sites with known or suspected lung carcinogens were identified in Niagara County, New York. Analysis of death certificates of 339 lung cancer cases (decedents) and 676 controls who died of other causes excluding respiratory diseases in 1978-1981 showed no association between death from lung cancer and residence in the selected census tracts (odds ratio = 0.95; 95% confidence interval = 0.65-1.38). Analysis of mail questionnaires from surrogate respondents for 209 lung cancer decedents and 417 controls showed no significant association between lung cancer and a history of ever having resided in the selected census tracts (age-adjusted odds ratio = 1.17; 95% CI = 0.78-1.76) and no significant interaction between such residence and cigarette smoking. Duration of residence in the selected census tracts did not differ between cases and controls. The limitations of this low-cost study design, in terms of response rates and potential misclassification of exposure, were discussed along with its value in interim studies of potentially hazardous dumpsites (prior to more intensive case-control or other studies using better exposure data).