There is convincing epidemiological and in vitro evidence of chronic oxidative stress in individuals with Down syndrome (DS). These individuals develop Alzheimer like changes in the brain in their 30s and 40s. The incidence of autoimmune diseases and cataracts is significantly increased, and the overall ageing process is accelerated. In vitro studies show that impaired viability of DS neurons may be amended by simple chemical antioxidants, such as vitamin E, BHT and propyl gallate, clearly indicative of oxyl radical involvement. However, because of the lack of in vivo experiments, the role of oxidative stress in DS remains controversial. We report here on the results of the chemical analyses of urine samples of 166 individuals, where DS subjects were matched by their siblings. The levels of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (2.35 +/- 1.69 in DS vs. 1.35 +/- 1.04 in controls, P = 0.00011), a biomarker of oxidative damage to DNA, and malondialdehyde (0.255 +/- 0.158 in DS vs. 0.204 +/- 0.128 in controls, P = 0.033), a biomarker of lipid peroxidation, are significantly elevated in individuals with DS. Dietary influences failed to show any significant correlation with the oxidative stress biomarkers. These results provide direct evidence for increased oxidative stress in individuals with DS.