The mortality of workers employed in shoe manufacturing in the United States was investigated using data from two factories in Ohio. Factory 1 had been in operation since 1930, and Factory 2 since 1939. All white employees who worked in either factory for 1 month or more during the period January 1, 1940 to December 31, 1979 were included. The total person years at risk was calculated for each 5 year period from February 1940 to December 1982. Expected deaths and standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were computed for specific causes of death using the life table analysis system developed by NIOSH. Results showed that the two factories used similar shoemaking processes, with all departments and associated work areas contained in one large room. Between 1977 and 1979, major ventilation additions had been made in both factories. Exposure for toluene (108883) and other solvents were made by OSHA in 1977 for Factory 1, and in 1978 for Factory 2. Material safety data sheets showed the presence of several other solvents. Results showed that the all causes SMR was 103 for white males (WM) and 93 for white females (WF). The SMR for leukemia and aleukemia was 123 for WF, 98 for WM, and 111 for the total cohort. Of 15 leukemia deaths, eight were lymphatic, five were myeloid, and two were monocytic. Excess mortality from cancer of the trachea, bronchus, and lung was statistically significant for the total cohort (SMR 1457) and for WM (SMR 156). The respiratory cancers were increased among women (SMR 130), but this was not statistically significant. Two laryngeal cancers increased this SMR to 334. Adjustment for smoking reduced the risks for men, but it remained statistically significantly elevated (SMR 139). Mortality from chronic, nonmalignant respiratory disease was elevated in the total cohort (SMR 127), and WM (SMR 1580), but was lower than expected among WF (SMR 79).