As a normal attribute of aerobic life, structural damage to organic compounds of a wide variety (DNA, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids) may occur as a consequence of oxidative reactions. Oxidative damage inflicted by reactive oxygen species has been called “oxidative stress”. Biological systems contain powerful enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidant systems, and oxidative stress denotes a shift in the prooxidant/antioxidant balance in favor of the former. Diverse biological processes such as inflammation, carcinogenesis, ageing, radiation damage and photobiological effects appear to involve reactive oxygen species. This field of research provides new perspectives in biochemical pharmacology, toxicology, radiation biochemistry as well as pathophysiology.