The antioxidant nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) has recently become well known as a putative anticancer drug. In this paper, it was evaluated the in vitro peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)), singlet oxygen ((1)O(2)), hydroxyl radical (OH(v)), hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), superoxide anion and hypochlorous acid (HOCl) scavenging capacity of NDGA. It was found that NDGA scavenges: (a) ONOO(-) (IC(50) = 4 +/- 0.94 microM) as efficiently as uric acid; (b) (1)O(2) (IC(50) = 151 +/- 20 microM) more efficiently than dimethyl thiourea, lipoic acid, N-acetyl-cysteine and glutathione; (c) OH(v) (IC(50) = 0.15 +/- 0.02 microM) more efficiently than dimethyl thiourea, uric acid, trolox, dimethyl sulfoxide and mannitol, (d) (IC(50) = 15 +/- 1 microM) more efficiently than N-acetyl-cysteine, glutathione, tempol and deferoxamine and (e) HOCl (IC(50) = 622 +/- 42 microM) as efficiently as lipoic acid and N-acetyl-cysteine. NDGA was unable to scavenge H(2)O(2). In an in vivo study in rats, NDGA was able to prevent ozone-induced tyrosine nitration in lungs. It is concluded that NDGA is a potent in vitro scavenger of ONOO(-), (1)O(2), OH(v), and HOCl and is able to prevent lung tyrosine nitration in vivo.