Genotoxic and oxidative effect of airborne particulate matter collected in a coke plant were evaluated on lung epithelial cells (A549). We aimed to clarify the mechanism of action of complex mixtures of PAHs and to identify biomarkers of effect of lung cancer. Particulate matter was analysed by GC/MS. Genotoxic and oxidative effects induced by the exposure to the extract were evaluated by Fpg comet assay. The cells were exposed for 30 min, 2h and 4h to 0.01%, 0.02% and 0.05% of the extract. We evaluated comet percentage and analysed tail moment values of exposed and unexposed cells treated with Fpg enzyme (TMenz) and untreated (TM) that indicate respectively oxidative and direct DNA damage. We found 0.328 ng/m3 of pyrene, 0.33 ng/m3 of benzo(a)anthracene, 1.073 ng/m3 of benzo(b)fluoranthene, 0.22 ng/m3 of benzo(k)fluoranthene, 0.35 ng/m3 of benzo(a)pyrene, 0.079 ng/m3 of dibenzo(a,h)anthracene and 0.40 ng/m3 of benzo(g,h,i)perylene. A dose-dependent increase, although not significant, of TM and TMenz in the exposed cells in respect to controls was found that indicates a slight increase of both direct and oxidative damage in exposed cells. A slight increase of comet percentage was found at the highest dose. We show the high sensibility of comet assay to measure early DNA damage also at low doses suggesting the use of such test on A549 to evaluate on target organ the effects of complex mixtures of genotoxic substances.