The European Childhood Leukaemia-Lymphoma Incidence Study (ECLIS) is designed to address concerns about a possible increase in the risk of cancer in Europe following the nuclear accident in Chernobyl in 1986. This paper reports results of surveillance of childhood leukaemia in cancer registry populations from 1980 up to the end of 1991. There was a slight increase in the incidence of childhood leukaemia in Europe during this period, but the overall geographical pattern of change bears no relation to estimated exposure to radiation resulting from the accident. We conclude that at this stage of follow-up any changes in incidence consequent upon the Chernobyl accident remain undetectable against the usual background rates. Our results are consistent with current estimates of the leukaemogenic risk of radiation exposure, which, outside the immediate vicinity of the accident, was small.