Decades of unregulated industrial pollution and careless agricultura! policies led toan environmental degradation that continues to undermine the health of children. The region is thick with toxins of all kinds, though the most publicized are those associated with nuclear spills and explosions over the last several decades. The most dramatic of these were the "Mayak" radioactive catastrophe in the former Soviet Union during the l 950s; the open-air and underground tests at the Semipalatinsk nuclear polygon of Kazakhstan for more than four decades; and the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Yet, of comparable magnitude and cost is the damage from pollution-choked air and chemicalladen soil and water in industrial zones throughout the CEE/CIS region and from the shrinking of the Aral Sea in Central Asia.