A pilot case-control study on bladder cancer, with population-based controls matched for each of 74 cases, has been conducted in two industrial areas of Southern Belgium in order to analyze the influence of tobacco use and occupation. Observed bladder cancer risk for smokers is more than 5 times higher than that for non-smokers, and the risk for people having an a priori hazardous occupation is about 3.5 times higher than that of other subjects. A dose-response relationship was found for tobacco exposure and duration of employment. It seems that the risk is increased in a log-linear way by these variables. Population attributable risks show that in 20 cases of bladder cancer, 17 could be explained by the two factors combined. This study also reveals an increased risk for metal workers, truck and engine drivers, coal-miners, and rubber and coal-tar workers. The risk for metal workers is specially high in the case of turners, metal fitters, blacksmiths, stokers and workers exposed to hot metal.