To assess occupational exposure, we determined the concentrations of PCDD/Fs and PCBs in human serum samples from 26 incinerator workers (10 industrial waste and 16 municipal solid waste incinerator workers), 38 residents near the facilities and 7 inhabitants (as control subjects) living over 10 km away from any incinerator facilities in Korea. The mean TEQ(WHO) levels of PCDD/Fs in the industrial and MSWI workers were 41.57 and 9.86 pg TEQ(WHO) g(-1) lipid, respectively. For the residents, the mean TEQ(WHO) was 13.47 pg TEQ(WHO) g(-1) lipid (residents near IWI, MSWI, and control subjects: 17.64, 13.31, and 6.91 pg TEQ(WHO) g(-1) lipid). Higher levels of certain PCDD/F congeners, mainly PCDFs, were detected in the serum of industrial incinerator workers in comparison to the levels measured in the residents. Significant differences were observed for PCDFs, the major compounds were OCDF, 1,2,3,4,6,7,8-HpCDF, and the minor components 1,2,3,4,7,8-HxCDF, 1,2,3,6,7,8-HxCDF, and 2,3,4,6,7,8-HxCDF (p<0.01). The PCDD/F congener patterns and concentrations measured in the 71 serum samples examined suggest that the industrial incinerator workers were exposed to PCDD/Fs in the workplace, possibly through inhalation and/or skin contact. In contrast, the levels and congener patterns of PCBs measured were similar in all subjects, indicating that workers from the incinerator facilities examined were not subjected to additional exposure to these compounds.