A case-control study was conducted to investigate risk factors for stomach cancer in a rural population in China.Linzhou Cancer Registry was used to identify cases of stomach cancer, aged between 30 and 75 years, diagnosedbetween January 1998 and April 1999. Three neighbourhood controls were selected for each case, matched accordingto age, sex and village of residence. A total of 210 cases and 630 controls were interviewed. Conditional logisticregression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) for factors associated with the risk of cancer. Among characteristicsof the residential environment, significantly increased risk was found for: frequent irritation on eyes or throat bysoot (OR 5.54, 95% CI 1.42-21.65, p for trend <0.01). This effect was particularly strong in women (OR 19.5, 95% CI1.28-297.09, p for trend =0.01). Dietary factors that were significantly associated with an increased risk were foodgrains other than rice, wheat and maize (OR 2.93, 95% 1.16-7.38), pickled or salted vegetables (OR 3.99, 95% CI1.63-9.75) and preference for a high salt diet (OR 2.58, 95% CI 1.56-4.26). The consumption of vegetables showed aprotective effect with an odds ratio of 0.27 (95% CI 0.11-0.61). It follows that a developing economy and improvementin living standards, with associated increased intake of fruit and vegetables and reduced consumption of salt, cancontribute to a reduction in the incidence of stomach cancer in the Linzhou population.