This is a review of the adverse health effects of ambient air pollution in relation to residential wood combustion in modern society. From a literature search of PubMed, nine relevant studies were identified. All of them focused on the effects of short-term exposure such as asthma, respiratory symptoms, daily mortality, and lung function. Substantial quantitative information was only found for acute asthma in relation to particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of <10 microm. In comparison with the present general estimations for ambient particulate matter and adverse health effects, the relative risks were even stronger in the studies in which residential wood combustion was considered a major source of particulate matter. Thus there seems to be no reason to assume that the effects of particulate matter in areas polluted by wood smoke are weaker than elsewhere.