The frequent haze days around the Chinese capital of Beijing in recent years have aroused great attention owing to the detrimental effects on visibility and public health. To discover the potential health effects of the haze, oxidative capacities of airborne particles collected in Beijing during haze and clear days were comparably assessed by a plasmid scission assay. Eleven water-soluble trace elements (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, Se, Tl, and Zn) in the size-segregated airborne particles were quantitatively analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, and most of the watersoluble trace elements were found to mainly concentrate in the fine particle size of 0.56-1.0 μm. In comparison with clear days, the mass concentrations of 11 analyzed water-soluble trace elements remarkably increased during haze days, and the oxidative capacities determined by the plasmid scission assay were markedly elevated accordingly during the haze days under the same dosage of particles as for those during clear days.Water-soluble trace elements in airborne particles, such as Cu, V, and particularly Zn, were found to have significantly positive correlations with the plasmid DNA damage rates. Because Cu, V, and Zn have been considered as bioavailable elements, the evident increase of these elements during haze days may be greatly harmful to human health.