The field of nanotechnology may hold the promise of significant improvements in the health and well being of patients, as well as in manufacturing technologies. The knowledge of this impact of nanomaterials on public health is limited so far. This paper briefly reviews the unique size-controlled properties of nanomaterials, their disposition in the body after inhalation, and the factors influencing the fate of inhaled nanomaterials. The physiology of the lung makes it an ideal target organ for non-invasive local and systemic drug delivery, especially for protein and poorly water-soluble drugs that have low oral bioavailability via oral administration. The potential application of pulmonary drug delivery of nanoparticles to the lungs, specifically in context of published results reported on nanomaterials in environmental epidemiology and toxicology is reviewed in this paper.