The adequacy of using United States death certificate data for research purposes was evaluated by comparing proportionate mortality ratio based on the data to a case/control analysis of population based cancer registry data. Analyses were compared in their ability to identify occupations linked to bladder cancer in white males. Death certificate data for 1,333,560 white male decedents who were residents of 23 states were analyzed, including 8,644 with bladder cancer as an underlying cause of death. The population based analysis used data from the National Bladder Cancer Study for 2,100 cases of bladder cancer in white males and 3,874 control subjects matched for age and geographical area. There were 21 suspect occupational categories that had at least 15 cases in both analyses. The death certificate data identified nine occupations to a have positive association, whereas the case/control analysis identified 15. Painters, machinists, drill press operatives, petroleum processing workers, hairdressers, food counter workers, and rubber processing workers had positive association in both studies. Of the six suspect occupations not positively associated in the case/control analysis, only one, chemical processing worker, was positive in the death certificate analysis. The results indicated that, although death certificate data cannot solely be used to predict occupational risks, it can be adequate and time saving in providing information about potential health problems.