Peroxisomes are indispensable for proper functioning of human cells. They efficiently compartmentalize enzymes responsible for a number of metabolic processes, including the absolutely essential beta-oxidation of specific fatty acid chains. These and other oxidative reactions produce hydrogen peroxide, which is, in most instances, immediately processed in situ to water and oxygen. The responsible peroxidase is the heme-containing tetrameric enzyme, catalase. What has emerged in recent years is that there are circumstances in which the tightly regulated balance of hydrogen peroxide producing and degrading activities in peroxisomes is upset-leading to the net production and accumulation of hydrogen peroxide and downstream reactive oxygen species. The factor most essentially involved is catalase, which is missorted in aging, missing or present at reduced levels in certain disease states, and inactivated in response to exposure to specific xenobiotics. The overall goal of this review is to summarize the molecular events associated with the development and advancement of peroxisomal hypocatalasemia and to describe its effects on cells. In addition, results of recent efforts to increase levels of peroxisomal catalase and restore oxidative balance in cells will be discussed.