Air pollution has persistently been the major cause of respiratory-related illness and death. Environmental pollutants such as diesel and petrol exhaust particles (PEPs) are the major contributors to urban air pollution. The aim of the present study was to characterize and investigate the in vitro cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, DNA damage and inflammation induced by PEPs. Cultured type II epithelium cells (human A549 lung cells) and alveolar macrophages (murine RAW 264.7 cells) were exposed to control, vehicle control and to different concentrations of PEPs for up to 24h. Each treatment was evaluated by cell viability, cytotoxicity, oxidative stress, DNA damage and inflammatory parameters. Overall in vitro studies demonstrated that both cell lines showed similar patterns in response to the above studies induced by petrol exhaust nanoparticles (PENPs). Vehicle control showed no changes compared with the control. In both cell lines, significant changes at the dose of 20 and 50μg/mL (A549 cell lines) and 10and 20μg/mL (macrophages) for PENPs were found. The reactive oxygen species production in both cell lines shot up in minutes, reached the maximum within an hour and came down after 4h. Hence, exposure to PENPs resulted in dose-dependent toxicity in cultured A549 cells and RAW 264.7 cells and was closely correlated to increased oxidative stress, DNA damage and inflammation.