Conclusions

This chapter poses the following question: if an environmental stressor(s) acts through an oxidative mechanism to damage a biological system, will agents that minimize oxidative processes abate or reverse the damage? In some cases, circumstantial evidence suggests a positive answer, but the question requires more rigorous study. Antioxidative mechanisms may be the only practical means to minimize the damage caused by some environmental stressors. Oxidative stress causes different amounts of damage to individuals who have different antioxidant capacity; interindividual variation in the effects of environmental stressors may be partially explained by this fact. More study in this area will help explain the action of certain environmental stressors and help evaluate the validity of the questions posed in this chapter.

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