Chile is a fast-growing country with important industrial activities near urban areas. In this study, the mass and elemental concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 were measured in five major Chilean urban areas. Samples of particles with diameter less than 10 um (PM10) and 2.5 um (PM2.5) were collected in 1998 in Iquique (northern Chile), Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, Rancagua (central Chile), and Temuco (southern Chile). Both PM10 and PM25 annual mean concentrations (PM10: 56.9-77.6 u,g/m3; PM25: 22.4-42.6 u.g/m3) were significantly higher than the corresponding European Union (EU) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality standards. Moreover, the 24-hr PM10 and PM25 U.S. standards were exceeded infrequently for some of the cities (Rancagua and Valparaiso).