Inhalation exposures can produce asthma and rhinitis by several mechanisms. Sensitization with the production of IgE specific for a substance can lead to symptoms on reexposure via mast cell degranulation and the release of inflammatory mediators. Some substances, known as environmental adjuvants, enhance the immune response to concomitant exposures with the environmental adjuvant. Respiratory irritants can lead to asthma and rhinitis through interaction with chemical irritant receptors in the airway, leading to release of substance P from sensory nerves and neurogenic inflammation. The reactive airways dysfunction syndrome is a chronic asthma-like syndrome resulting from a single acute exposure to a respiratory irritant, while the reactive upper-airways dysfunction syndrome is chronic rhinitis stemming from an irritant exposure. The dysregulation of neurogenic inflammation by chemical exposures may be an important mechanism in the toxic induction of reactive airways dysfunction syndrome and reactive upper-airways dysfunction syndrome and may play a role in understanding the sick building syndrome and the multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome.