Epidemiologic evidence supports the positive association of cardiopulmonary morbidity and mortality, and lung cancer risk with exposure to airborne particulate matter (PM). Oxidative stress and inflammation have been proposed to be the major causal factors involved in mediating PM effects on both cardiovascular and pulmonary health outcomes. However, the mechanism whereby PM causes the health effects is not fully elucidated. To evaluate and investigate human exposure to PM, it is essential to have a specific, sensitive and robust characterization of individual exposure to PM. Biomarkers may mark important intermediate steps leading to overt health effects after PM exposure. Thus biomarkers are promising indicators, which could serve as representative measures of the exposure to PM for assessing the health impacts and understanding the mechanism. Indeed, a number of biomarkers are already in use in the field of epidemiological studies and toxicological research. However, we are facing now the challenges to select robust, specific and sensitive biomarkers, which can be employed in large-scale of population to assess the health risk and to monitor the effectiveness of interventions. In this review, we describe a range of biomarkers that are associated with air pollution exposure, particularly markers of oxidative stress, inflammatory factors, and microRNAs, as well as markers of pollutants metabolites. Understanding the nature of the association of these biomarkers with PM exposure may shed some light on the process of selecting biomarkers for large-scale population studies, developing novel preventative and therapeutic strategies.