Because of reports of respiratory complaints in Swedish industrial arts (IA) teachers, a cross-sectional study was performed on 130 IA teachers in Stockholm to study the relationship between the work environment and health, and especially the aforementioned complaints. One hundred and twelve other school employees served as control subjects. Sex, age, and smoking habit distribution were similar in the two groups. All subjects answered a questionnaire about their health problems, and the IA teachers answered questions about their work environment. The work environment consisted of many old and neglected workshops (hereafter called shops). Compared to the control subjects, the IA teachers had more complaints in respect of the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lower airways--including chronic bronchitis (OR 12.4, 95% confidence interval 2.95-110.5). A higher occurrence of symptoms existed in shops with bad ventilation and dust-spreading machines and in shops where dust-spreading cleanup methods were used. A suspected interaction between smoking and work environment was noted for some symptoms, especially impaired smell and chronic bronchitis. In conclusion, several factors in the work environment were identified as risk factors for health. Identification of these risk factors should result in a program to reduce the health problems in the work environment.