OBJECTIVES: Benign conditions have been known to cause an increase in the levels of serum carcinoembryonic antigen, a level change that is often associated with an increase in the occurrence of malignancy. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the relationship between serum CEA levels and type of work in shipyard workers. METHODS: From July-August 2007, 637 study subjects were enrolled into the study with the following characteristics: age 37~58 years, healthy shipyard workers, and who undergone an examination in a general hospital. Data on general characteristics was gathered from self-administered questionnaires. Information on job factors was collected from company personnel data. Serum CEA levels were measured after 10 hours'fasting. RESULTS: The level of mean serum CEA was 1.83+/-1.20 ng/mL. On univariate analysis, the mean CEA level was significantly higher in older age groups (P<0.05), current smokers, lower education, and in production workers (P<0.01). After adjusting for age, BMI, cigarette smoking, job pattern, and educational level, the serum CEA level was higher in production workers than in office workers(P<0.01). This is particularly true in the shipyard painters, who had the highest level of CEA across job groups. CONCLUSIONS: The goal of this was to determine if there were differences in serum CEA levels according to occupational role in shipyard workers. Production shipyard workers had relatively higher level of serum CEA than office workers, most likely due to occupational exposure. This serum CEA level is influenced by occupation role. Serum CEA level could be a parameter for evaluating pollutant effects.