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The number of industries in the East Midlands of England who were prepared to enroll their employees in a scheme to detect colorectal cancer by faecal occult blood testing was investigated. Company directors were asked if they would supply a list of their employees over the age of 40 years and allow a research team to give a 15 min talk at the workplace. Forty-nine per cent of firms responded to the questionnaire and 27% of businesses were prepared to enroll. There was no difference in mean total employees between firms willing and unwilling to participate (unpaired t-test, P > 0.05). The commonest reason given by managers rejecting the scheme was that they did not believe the workforce would be interested.