Improved understanding of the sources of air pollution that are most harmful could aid in developing more effective measures for protecting human health. The Denver Aerosol Sources and Health (DASH) study was designed to identify the sources of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that are most responsible for the adverse health effects of short-term exposure to PM2.5. Daily 24-h PM2.5 sampling began in July 2002 at a residential monitoring site in Denver, Colorado, using both Teflon and quartz filter samplers. Sampling continued through 2008. Chemical speciation was carried out for mass, inorganic ionic compounds (sulfate, nitrate and ammonium), and carbonaceous components, including elemental carbon, organic carbon, temperature-resolved organic carbon fractions and a large array of organic compounds. In addition, water-soluble metals were measured daily for 12 months in 2003. A receptor-based source apportionment approach utilizing positive matrix factorization (PMF) was used to identify PM2.5 source contributions for each 24-h period. The health study will investigate associations between daily source contributions and an array of health endpoints, including daily mortality and hospitalizations and measures of asthma control in asthmatic children. Findings from the DASH study, in addition to being of interest to policymakers, by identifying harmful PM2.5 sources may provide insights into mechanisms of PM effect.