A group of 174 male vineyard and orchard workers was studied for the prevalence of acute and chronic respiratory symptoms and lung function changes. In addition, 115 male control workers were studied for the prevalence of chronic respiratory symptoms. There was a significantly higher prevalence of dyspnea and chest tightness in exposed compared to control workers. In particular, exposed nonsmokers had significantly higher prevalences of dyspnea and chest tightness than controls this was found for exposed nonsmokers with both short (< or = 10 years) and long (> 10 years) exposure. Smokers exposed for more than 10 years had significantly higher prevalences of chronic cough, chronic phlegm, chronic bronchitis, and chest tightness than smokers with shorter exposures (p < 0.01 or p < 0.05). Workers employed for more than 10 years had higher prevalences of most of the acute (shipt-related) symptoms than those workers with shorter employment; however, the differences were significant only for cough in smokers (p < 0.05). Significantly lower than predicted FVC values were measured in smokers and nonsmokers after both short and long duration of employment. Differences between measured and predicted FEV1, FEF50, and FEF25 were significant for workers employed for more than 10 years. A separate analysis of individual data as a percent of predicted values demonstrated that many workers had FVC (5.2%), FEV1 (6.3%), FEF50 (27.6%), and FEF25 (40.2%) lower than 70% of predicted values. These data suggest that vineyard and orchard workers may develop acute and chronic respiratory symptoms and lung function changes which are, in part, related to environmental factors and to cigarette consumption.