Data from a population-based case-control study in 19 counties in California and Washington State were used to investigate the association between parental employment and childhood brain tumors. Parents of 540 cases(including 308 astroglial and 109 primitive neuroectodermal tumors) and 801 controls diagnosed from 1984 to 1991 were interviewed. Analysis was completed for parents' self-reported industry of employment and job tasks during the five years preceding the birth of the child. Parents who worked in the chemical industry were at increased risk of having had children with astroglial tumors (fathers' odds ratio [OR] = 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-3.9); mothers' OR = 3.3; 95% CI, 1.4-7.7), but no trend by duration of employment was seen for mothers. Children of fathers employed as electrical workers were at increased risk of developing brain tumors of any histologic type (OR = 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3-4.0).