The results of a survey designed to estimate the number of workers involved in work with lead (7439921) in California were reported. Employers were identified from a list maintained by the California State Employment Development Department. A questionnaire was mailed to 1155 employers of whom 1086 returned it. Of these 1086, 539 reported using lead or lead containing materials and 521 completed a second questionnaire. From the survey results, it was estimated that 230,000 workers work in industries and positions with some type of lead using exposure. Over 85,000 of these workers were involved in manufacturing. The next largest segment, 42,000 workers was in the construction industry. The lead using processes with the highest numbers of exposed employees were soldering, except pipe and sheet (114,100 workers); dispensing leaded gasoline (31,000 workers); soldering pipes and sheets (22,300 workers); cable cutting and splicing (13,800 workers); painting with lead paints (12,700 workers); printing with lead based inks (7,500 workers); casting or melting lead, or jointing (4,500 workers); and radiator repair (4,300 workers). The methodological limitations and pathophysiological and public health implications of the survey were discussed.