Dosimetry provides information linking environmental exposures to sites of deposition, removal from these sites, and translocation of deposited materials. Dosimetry also aids in extrapolating laboratory animal and in vitro data to humans. Recent progress has shed light on: properties of particles in relation to their fates in the body; influence of age, gender, body size, and lung diseases on inhaled particle doses; particle movement to the brain via the olfactory nerves; and particle deposition hot spots in the respiratory tract. Ultrafine size has emerged as an important dosimetric characteristic. Particle count, composition, and surface properties are recognized as potentially important toxicology-related considerations. Differences in body size influence airway sizes, inhaled particle deposition, specific ventilation, and specific doses (e.g. per unit body mass). Related to body size, age, gender, species, and strain are also dosimetric considerations. Diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchitis, produce uneven doses within the respiratory tract. Traditional concepts of the translocation and clearance of deposited particles have been challenged. Ultrafine particles can translocate to the brain via olfactory nerves, and from the lung to other organs. The clearance rates of particles from tracheobronchial airways are slowed by respiratory tract infections, but newer evidence implies that slow particle clearance from this region also exists in healthy lungs. Finally, hot spots of particle deposition are seen in hollow models, lung tissue, and dosimetric simulations. Local doses to groups of epithelial cells can be much greater than those to surrounding cells. The new insights challenge dosimetry scientists. © 2010 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.