An investigation is presented of occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in a carbon-electrode manufacturing plant, as assessed by three monitoring methods, viz, environmental monitoring of the external dose by analysis of personal air samples, biological monitoring of the internal dose by analysis of urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHpyrene), and biological effect monitoring by dosimetry of PAH-DNA adducts in blood lymphocytes. On the basis of job conditions, workers at the plant were divided into three groups with presumed low, intermediate and high exposure to air-borne PAH, respectively. All air samples showed levels of total PAH below the current MAC-value in the Netherlands, which is 200 μg/m3, whereas the benzo[a]pyrene level was occasionally higher than the recommended concentration of 2 μg/m3. The values of 1-OHpyrene in urine from the intermediate and high exposure groups were significantly higher than those of the low exposure group, namely 3.6- and 8.2-fold, respectively. Clear external and internal exposure was thus demonstrated for workers of the high and intermediate exposure groups, but this did not result in a measurable effect at the DNA level in blood lymphocytes. Tobacco smoking, on the other hand, caused a significant increase of the levels of PAH-DNA adducts but did not affect 1-OHpyrene values. These data suggest that smoking is a more important risk factor for adverse health effects, i.e. cancer, than occupational exposure to PAH in this plant.