Recent experimental findings in animals and humans indicate adverse respiratory effects from short-term exposures to particulate air pollutants, especially in sensitive subpopulations such as asthmatics. The relationship between air pollution and asthma has mainly been determined using particulate matter (PM) measurements from central sites. Validated tools are needed to assess exposures most relevant to health effects. Recently, a personal passive particulate sampler (personal Data-RAM, pDR, MIE Inc., Bedford, MA) has become available for studying personal exposures to PM with time resolution at 1 min. The pDR measures light scatter from PM in the 0.1-10 microM range, the significant range for health effects. In order to assess the ability of the pDR in predicting gravimetric mass, pDRs were collocated with PM2.5 and PM10 Harvard Impactors (HI) inside and outside nine homes of asthmatic children and at an outdoor central Air Pollution Control District site. Results are presented of comparisons between the HI samplers and the pDR in various modes of operation: passive, active, and active with a heated inlet. When used outdoors at fixed sites the pDR readings exhibit interference from high relative humidity (RH) unless operated with a method for drying inlet air such as a heater, or if readings at times of high RH are adjusted. The pDR correlates more highly with the HI PM2.5 than with the HI PM10 (r2 = 0.66 vs. 0.13 for outdoors, r2 = 0.42 vs. 0.20 for indoors). The pDR appears to be a useful tool for an epidemiologic study that aims to examine the relationship between health outcomes and personal exposure to peaks in PM.