We evaluated the risk of gastric cardia cancer by occupation and industry in a case-control study using information from death certificates for 24 US states in 1984-1992. One thousand fifty-six cases of gastric cardia cancer were identified among men aged 20 years or more, including 1,023 whites and 33 blacks. Controls were 5,280 subjects who died of nonmalignant diseases, 5:1 matched to cases by geographic region, race, gender, and 5-year age group. Among white men, occupations with elevated risk included financial managers (odds ratio [OR] = 6.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-28.8), janitors and cleaners (OR = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0-2.9), production inspectors (OR = 3.2; 95% CI, 1.5-6.9), and truck drivers (OR = 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.2). Industries with elevated risk included pulp and paper mills (OR = 2.0; 95% CI, 1.0-37), newspaper publishing and printing (OR = 2.6; 95% CI, 1.0-6.3), industrial and miscellaneous chemicals (OR = 2.0; 95% CI, 1.0-3.9), water supply and irrigation (OR = 5.6; 95% CI, 1.6-19.9). Among black men, risks were nonsignificantly increased for subjects employed in railroads (3 cases, 2 controls) and for carpenters (3 cases, 0 controls). We created job-exposure matrices for asbestos, inorganic dust, metal dust, lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, nitrosamines, sulfuric acid, fertilizers, herbicides, other pesticides, and wood dust. Among white men, a consistent pattern of risk increase by level and probability of exposure was observed only for sulfuric acid mists, with a twofold excess (95% CI, 0.6-7.3) associated with high probability of high intensity exposure. A significant 30% increase in risk was observed for those subjects with a high probability of exposure (all levels combined) to lead, and a 60% increase was observed for subjects with high-level exposure to lead (all probabilities combined). However, crosstabulation of gastric cardia cancer risk by probability and level of exposure to lead did not show consistent trends. Asbestos exposure also showed an overall 50% increase but no consistent trends among white men. None of the 12 occupational hazards showed an association with risk for black men.