The amount of environmental lead (7439921) contamination associated with cottage and conventional smelting in Jamaica was examined. Fifty eight households were studied in Red Pond, the site of the established smelter and several backyard smelters, and 21 households were studied in the adjacent community of Ebony Vale. Households were investigated using questionnaires, soil and house dust lead measurements, and blood lead measurements from 372 residents. Soil lead levels in Red Pond exceeded 500 parts per million at 24% of households, compared to 0% in Ebony Vale. Geometric mean blood lead in Red Pond, where 44% of children less than six years of age had blood lead levels greater than or equal to 25 micrograms per deciliter, was more than twice that in Ebony Vale in all age groups. Within Red Pond, proximity to backyard smelters and to the conventional smelter were independent predictors of soil lead. Soil lead was the strongest predictor of blood lead among Red Pond subjects under 12 years of age. The authors conclude that cottage lead smelters, like conventional ones, are a hazard for nearby residents. Children exposed to lead contamination in tropical developing countries may be at higher risk for elevated blood lead levels than similarly exposed children in developed countries.