To define the relationship between ionic fluoride concentration in the serum of workers and the amount of hydrofluoric acid (HF) in the work environment, pre-and postshift serum and urine samples of 142 HF workers and 270 unexposed workers were examined. The maximum and minimum concentrations of HF in the air in each workshop varied from the mean by less than 30%. The preexposure levels of serum and urinary fluoride in HF workers were higher (P < 0.001) than the control values. This suggests that fluoride excretion from the body continues for at least 12h. The postshift serum and urinary fluoride concentrations of these workers were significantly higher (P < 0.001) than the preshift concentrations. A good correlation (r = 0.64) was obtained between postshift serum fluoride and postshift urine fluoride. There was a linear relationship between mean serum fluoride concentration and HF concentration in the workshop. A mean fluoride concentration of 82.3 micrograms/l with a lower fiducial limit (95%, P = 0.05) of 57.9 micrograms/l was estimated to correspond to an atmospheric HF concentration of 3 ppm. This is the maximum allowable environmental concentration recommended by the Japanese Association of Industrial Health, and it is also the threshold limit value suggested by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. The results demonstrate that exposure to HF can be monitored by determining the serum fluoride concentration.