A new gas chromatographic/mass spectrometric (GC/MS) method was developed to detect 2-methylanthraquinone (2-MeA) in wood dust. 2-MeA is present in teak wood (a suspected human carcinogen) but not in oak, beech, mahogany, birch, ash or pine. The method involved collection of workplace dust on filters and extraction of 2-MeA with methanol and GC/MS analysis. The method was tested on teak wood dust samples (n=43) collected on polyvinylchloride membrane filters during various work operations in four small factories making furniture and fittings for leisure craft and boatyards (air teak wood dust concentration: range 0.32–14.32 mg m−3). A high correlation coefficient for the content of 2-MeA versus teak dust was obtained (logarithmic correlation: y=1.5308x + 0.0998, r=0.9215). Determination of airborne 2-MeA is a useful technique to confirm occupational exposure to teak wood dust.