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The incidence of cancer among 4571 shipyard workers with first employment between 1940 and 1979, including 623 welders of mild steel, was investigated in a historical cohort study. The loss to follow up was 1.1%. The total number of deaths was 1078 (974.5 expected) and there were 408 cases of cancer v 361.3 expected. Sixty five cases of lung cancer were found v 46.3 expected based on the national rates for males. Four pleural mesotheliomas had occurred (1.2 expected), none among the welders. An excess of lung cancers was found among the welders (nine cases v 3.6 expected). There were six cases of lung cancer v 1.6 expected in a high exposure group of 255 welders. A survey of the smoking habits as of 1984 indicated 10%-20% more daily smokers among the shipyard production workers than among Norwegian males. Exposure to smoking and asbestos were confounding variables in this study.