An important source of inhalable particles in residential areas, particularly in the winter season, is the biomass combustion when wood is used for domestic heating. This is a continuation of our previous investigation about wood smoke pollution in residential areas of southern Germany (Bari et al., 2009). The target of this study was to characterise ambient levels of criteria pollutants, their risk assessment and find out influence of hardwood combustion on local air quality. Particle-phase PM10 samples were collected at a residential site Dettenhausen near Stuttgart during 2005/06 and winter 2009. Samples were analysed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other wood smoke tracer compounds (e.g., levoglucosan, methoxyphenols). High concentrations of PM10 and total PAHs were found during winter 2009 like winter 2005/06. Carcinogenic PAHs were detected in high concentrations and contributed 44% of the total PAHs in the ambient air. The significant concentrations of hardwood markers (i.e., syringaldehyde, acetosyringone) found in the ambient air suggest that the influence of hardwood combustion on ambient air quality is significant. Based on the emission ratio of hardwood markers and PM10, it can be concluded that in the investigated residential site about 57% of ambient PM10 pollution can be attributed to hardwood combustion for winter heating.