High levels of particulate emissions from Diesel engines, in tunnel construction sites, force the aftertreatment of exhaust gases with particulate traps. Sub-micron particulates are suspected to be carcinogenic. Hence, the size distribution of particulates was compared for different particulate trap systems. The two extreme types are the ceramic monolith surface filter and the typical deep-bed filter of knitted fiber. These two types have distinctly different properties. The gravimetric evaluation of both systems show comparable efficiencies around 90%. If, instead, the particle count is evaluated: the efficiency of the surface filter drops below 70%, whereas that of the deep-bed filter increases. The spectral analysis of distinct solid particulates shows that the efficiency of the surface filter deteriorates for particles smaller than 100 nm. The toxicological consequences are disquieting.