A 44-yr-old male presented with shortness of breath, diffuse X-ray infiltrates, and physiologic evidence of a restrictive lung disease. Biopsy revealed pulmonary alveolar proteinosis. The patient had worked for the previous 6 yr as an aluminum rail grinder in a very dusty environment. Analysis of his lung tissue revealed greater than 300 X 10(6) particles of aluminum/g dry lung; all of the particles appeared as spheres of less than 1 mu diameter. We believe that this case represents an example of pulmonary alveolar proteinosis induced by inhalation of aluminum particles; this finding confirms animal studies which suggest that proteinosis can be produced by very large doses of many types of finely divided mineral dust.