The relevance of occupational exposure to electrical and magnetic fields (EMF) in the etiology of leukemia has been raised in several studies. Underground coal miners represent an occupational group with situationally determined EMF exposure, as high-voltage power distribution lines are strung overhead in the mines and converters and step-down transformers provide power to mining equipment. Risk in occupational exposure to EMF was examined in a case-control study of 40 leukemia decedents and 160 control subjects who died of causes other than cancer or accident and who were matched on age at death. The control subjects were selected from a group of 6,066 persons whose deaths were reported in four National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health cohort mortality follow- up studies. Based on these data, 25 or more years of underground mining, a surrogate of EMF exposure, was found to pose a statistically significant risk for leukemia (International Classification of Diseases /ICDJ codes 204 through 207, eighth revision), myelogenous leukemia (ICD 205), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) (ICD 204.1). Accumulative exposure to chemical agents probably poses a risk for acute myelogenous leukemia, although this relationship fell short of being statistically significant. Although CLL has not previously been attributed to environmental agents, these data suggest a possible CLL risk from prolonged exposure to EMF.