The national economic cost of occupational diseases in 1992 was estimated in this study using the human capital method. A prevalence based method was applied to calculations of direct and indirect costs of work related illnesses. Direct medical costs were estimated from such data sources as the National Hospital Discharge Survey, the Health Care Financing Administration, the National Nursing Home Survey, and the National Council on Compensation Insurance. Data obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics, and Bureau of Labor Statistics were used to estimate indirect costs. In 1992, the economic cost of occupational disease in the United States exceeded 25.5 billion dollars. The cost of fatal occupational disease in 1992 equaled about 19.7 billion dollars. Direct costs accounted for 54% of fatal occupational disease costs and 92% of nonfatal occupational disease costs. The greatest financial losses for fatal occupational diseases were attributed to cancers, circulatory system diseases, and chronic respiratory diseases. Total costs for cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and circulatory diseases were estimated as 9.4 billion, 3.9 billion, and 5.8 billion dollars, respectively. The direct and indirect costs of fatal occupational diseases amounted to 10.7 billion and 9.0 billion dollars, respectively. Within indirect costs, total mortality costs equaled 7.0 billion dollars and total morbidity costs equaled 2.0 billion dollars. Across industries, total morbidity costs were 472 million dollars. The total medical costs of new occupational disease cases in 1992 exceeded 5 billion dollars. The authors conclude that occupational disease is currently a significant economic burden.