Particulate matter (PM), an important component of air pollution, induces significant adverse health effects. Many of the observed health effects caused by inhaled PM are associated with oxidative stress and inflammation. This association has been linked in particular to the particles' chemical components, especially the inorganic/metal and the organic/polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) fractions, and their ability to generate reactive oxygen species in biological systems. The transcription factor NF-E2 nuclear factor erythroid-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is activated by redox imbalance and regulates the expression of phase II detoxifying enzymes. Nrf2 plays a key role in preventing PM-induced toxicity by protecting against oxidative damage and inflammation. This review focuses on specific PM fractions, particularly the dissolved metals and PAH fractions, and their roles in inducing oxidative stress and inflammation in cell and animal models with respect to Nrf2 and mitochondria.