There is increasing evidence of an association between occupational factors and head and neck cancer. The present paper reviews the most relevant epidemiological studies published within the last 30 years. Generally these studies indicate an increased cancer risk for "blue collar workers" exposed to dust or inhaled organic and inorganic agents. Moreover, the increased risk of head and neck cancer in most studies persists after adjustment for alcohol and tobacco consumption. More detailed, clinically orientated studies are necessary to provide a better understanding of the role of occupational factors in head and neck cancer.