Wegener granulomatosis is a rare disease of unknown aetiology. In the majority of these patients the kidney is involved in the disease process. We performed a case-control study to evaluate the role of occupational exposure in the development of Wegener granulomatosis with renal involvement. The occupational histories of 16 cases with clearly established diagnosis of Wegener granulomatosis with renal involvement were compared with those of 32 age- and sex-matched controls. It was observed that inhalation of silicon-containing compounds such as silica and grain dust gave a nearly sevenfold risk for Wegener granulomatosis. Further epidemiological and experimental work needs to be performed in order to corroborate these findings.