Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death and thus a major public health problem. While lung cancer frequency might be partially attributable to smoking habit and occupational exposure, the role of industrial pollution also needs to be assessed. To ascertain the possible effect of residential proximity to industrial installations on lung cancer risk in Asturias, an industrial region in Spain, taking into account the type of industrial activity and carcinogenic substances released. We conducted a hospital-based case–control study covering 700 lung cancer patients and 700 controls recruited in Asturias, matched individually by ethnicity, hospital, age, and sex. Distances were computed from the respective participants’ residential locations to the 48 industrial facilities governed by the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Act 16/2002 and included in the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register, and located in the study areas. Using logistic regression, odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CIs) were calculated and adjusted for sex, age, hospital area, tobacco consumption, family history of cancer, area of residence, and occupation. Excess risk of lung cancer was observed for individuals living near industrial installations (OR = 1.43; 95 % CI = 1.08–1.89), particularly metal industries (OR = 1.40; 95 % CI = 1.05–1.87), cement plants (OR = 4.81; 95 % CI = 1.20–19.19), and shipyards (OR = 1.69; 95 % CI = 1.17–2.43). Residents living close to industrial facilities releasing dioxins displayed a high, though non-statistically significant, excess risk of lung cancer (OR = 1.62; 95 % CI = 0.86–3.07). This study suggests a possible association between lung cancer risk and proximity to industrial installations, specifically metal industries, cement plants, and shipyards.