To investigate the theoretic possibility of excessive exposure to thorium during the process of tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding using thoriated rods we carried out a cross-sectional study of TIG welders and an age- and skill-matched group. We measured the radiation doses from inhaled thorium that was retained in the body and investigated whether any differences in health or biologic indices could have been attributable to the welding and tip-grinding process. Sixty-four TIG welders, 11 non-TIG welders, and 61 control subjects from an airline engineering population participated. All of the subjects were interviewed for biographic, occupational history and morbidity details. All of the welders and eight control subjects carried out large-volume urine sampling to recover thorium 232 and thorium 228; this group also had chest radiographs. All of the subjects had a blood sample taken to estimate liver enzymes, and they provided small-volume urine samples for the estimation of retinol-binding protein and β2-microglobulin. We found no excess of morbidity among the TIG or non-TIG welding groups, and the levels of retinol-binding protein and β2-microglobulin were the same for both groups. There was a higher aspartate aminotransferase level in the control group. The internal radiation doses were estimated at less than an annual level of intake in all cases, and considerably less if the exposure (as was the case) was assumed to be chronic over many years. Some additional precautionary measures are suggested to reduce further any potential hazard from this process.