Types of available studies relevant to the quantification of air pollution health effects and their principal limitations are discussed. Assessments are provided based on review and re-analysis of previously reported data bases, synthesis of published findings, and original analysis of health data sets using new methods or recent size-specific particle mass measurements. Interim results from ongoing research activities on airborne particle health effects are presented. It is shown that preliminary results obtained from cross-sectional and time-series mortality studies appear to be consistent, indicating that particulate air pollution, even at current levels, could be of concern for public health. Throughout the paper, methodological deficiencies and remaining gaps in knowledge are identified. In particular, uncertainties associated with the reported exposure-response coefficients are assessed. Finally, by characterizing the limitations of analysis we propose various recommendations for future studies and research that will serve to further define the nature, magnitude, and uncertainties of air pollution health risks.