Several years of drought have contributed to the desiccation of Old Wives Lake, a shallow, alkaline lake in southern Saskatchewan. The prevailing northwest wind, which blows across the 177-km2 dry lake bed, has generated airborne sodium sulfate, silt, and clay. Residents have reported nasal, eye, and respiratory irritation. A cross-sectional design that included 300 controls and 300 exposed subjects elucidated the potential adverse respiratory health effects of exposure to blowing alkali salt and dust. An increased prevalence of current cough, current wheeze, chronic cough, chronic wheeze, chronic eye irritation, and chronic nasal irritation was identified in the exposed population. Smoking-adjusted odds ratios were consistent with the prevalence ratios. Lung function did not differ between the exposed and the control populations. Rainfall during the study period reduced airborne dust levels and may have precluded demonstration of previously reported adverse effects.