Toxic elements present in airborne particulate matter (PM) are associated with human health effects; however, their toxic characteristics depend on the source of their origins and their concentrations in ambient air. Twenty four elements (Al, B, Ba, Be, Bi, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ga, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, Pb, Se, Sr, Te, Tl, and Zn) in 12 different size fractions of PM ranging from 10 nm to 10 μm were characterized in Singapore during two different atmospheric conditions (smoke haze and non-haze periods) in 2012 for the first time. In addition, their possible sources were identified based on backward air trajectory analysis and principal component analysis (PCA). The health implications of inhalable particles were assessed using a human airway deposition model, the Multiple-Path Particle Dosimetry model (MPPD). The results concerning particle-bound trace elements are interpreted in terms of coarse (PM2.5−10), fine (PM2.5), ultrafine (PM0.01−0.1, 0.01 μm < Dp < 0.10 μm), and nano (PM0.01−0.056, 0.01 μm < Dp < 0.056 μm) particles. The ratios of elemental concentrations measured between the smoke haze episode and the non-haze period in coarse, fine, ultrafine, and nano particles varied from 1.2 (Bi) to 6.6 (Co). Both the PCA and backward trajectory analysis revealed that trans-boundary biomass-burning emissions from Indonesia were primarily responsible for enhanced concentrations of particulate-bound elements during the smoke haze episode. The particle depositions in the respiratory system were higher during the smoke haze episode compared to the non-haze period. The study finds that ultrafine and nano particles present in the atmosphere have higher tendencies to be deposited into the deeper parts of the respiratory system, compared to coarse and fine particles. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.