A general overview of particulate deposition and clearance, particularly as related to radionuclides, but generally applicable is described. The respiratory system is divided into naso-pharynx (N-P) and tracheobronchial (T-B) (together constituting anatomical dead space and ciliated, mucus-covered portion) and pulmonary (caudally from respiratory bronchioles). N-P deposition (N) is expressed by: N = 0.62 + 0.475log(aerodynamic diameter)/sup 2/(inhalation, liters/min). T-B deposition calculated from anatomical and physical data (affected by hygroscopicity, especially for low-MW and low-density particles). Clearance mechanisms include: (1) a very rapid phase (minutes) for particles deposited on ciliated epithelium; (2) a rapid phase consisting of the slower elements of ciliary clearance and the rapidly recruitable phagocytes (transitional character of this phase makes it difficult to estimate half-time, 24 hr); (3) a slower alveolar phase dependent on properties of dust; (4) elimination via lymph. (3) and (4) have similar kinetics, but (3) is via T-B and GI.