In recent years, there has been increasing interest in noninvasive monitoring of airway inflammation and oxidative stress. Several volatile and nonvolatile substances can be measured in exhaled breath and have been suggested as potential biomarkers of these events. Exhaled gases, including carbon monoxide (CO), alkanes (ethane, pentane), and substances measured in breath condensate, such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and isoprostanes were all suggested as potential markers of oxidative stress in the lung. A European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Research Seminar entitled "Haemoxygenase-1 induction and exhaled markers of oxidative stress in lung diseases" was organized by the Airway Regulation and Provocation Group of the Clinical Allergy and Immunology Assembly in Budapest, Hungary in September, 1999 to integrate the latest knowledge on these issues and accelerate further improvement in this area. During this 2-day event several issues were raised about: the use and standardization of measurements in exhaled breath; problems of measuring expired H2O2 and other mediators in breath condensate; role and regulation of haemoxygenase (HO)-1 in the lung; and conditions and factors influencing exhaled CO. This report is a summary of the main presentations at the seminar, together with the current areas of research in this rapidly expanding field.