We evaluated, in vitro, the inflammatory and cytotoxic potential of soot particles from current low-emission (Euro IV) diesel engines toward human peripheral blood monocyte-derived macrophage cells. The result is surprising. At the same mass concentration, soot particles produced under low-emission conditions exhibit a much highertoxic and inflammatory potential than particles from an old diesel engine operating under black smoke conditions. This effect is assigned to the defective surface structure of Euro IV diesel soot, rendering it highly active. Our findings indicate that the reduction of soot emission in terms of mass does not automatically lead to a reduction of the toxic effects toward humans when the structure and functionality of the soot is changed, and thereby the biological accessibility and inflammatory potential of soot is increased.