Eight 'rogue' lymphocyte metaphases containing a large number of aberrant chromosomes were noted during a survey of chromosomal damage in 328 Belarussian children. The study population comprised children of families living in territory contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl accident. The majority of the sample had been evacuated within 1 week from very heavily polluted territory to areas that had received much less fallout. Two hundred cells were scored per subject and one rogue cell was found in a child exposed in utero; one in a child conceived after the accident and six in the postnatally exposed group. The possibility that the damage was due to exposure to radio-iodine concentrated in the thyroid gland, or to radiation from incorporated 'hot particles' of an alpha or beta/gamma emitter is discussed. It is concluded that the damage to these cells is unlikely to have been caused by radiation.