Non-haem iron concentrations were measured in 65 specimens of liver obtained from 50 male and 15 female black adults who died from carcinoma of the oesophagus in the Johannesburg area between 1971 and 1980. The results were compared with those obtained in two earlier studies on subjects who died from other causes. The first was carried out on 220 men and 164 women in 1959/1960 at Baragwanath Hospital, Johannesburg, and the second series, which consisted of 248 men and 181 women, was obtained at the same hospital in 1976. During the intervening period there was a marked drop in the incidence and severity of iron overload in urban blacks. A direct comparison between subjects with carcinoma of the oesophagus and the 1976 group showed that the geometric mean hepatic iron concentrations in the carcinoma patients were significantly higher in the 40-49, 50-59 and over-60 age groups. While geometric mean hepatic iron concentrations in the various age groups were also higher than those obtained in the 1959/1960 study, the differences only reached statistical significance in subjects over the age of 60 years. Seven of the 15 women had significant hepatic iron deposits (greater than 0,5% dry weight). These results suggest that the excessive consumption of home-brewed alcoholic drinks contaminated with iron may be directly or indirectly associated with the development of carcinoma of the oesophagus in urban black adults.