About 20 years ago the emphasis in soil chemistry research switched from studies of problems related to scarcities of plant nutrients to those arising from soil pollutants. The new problems have come about because of the excessive uses of fertilizers, the inputs from farm and industrial wastes, the widespread applications of anthropogenie xenobiotic chemicals, and the deterioration of soil structure resulting from certain modern agriculture practises. The International Society of Soil Science (ISSS) recognized these problems and challenges. A provisional Working Group was set up in 1978 to focus attention on soil colloids with a view to understanding better the interactions wh ich take place at their surfaces. It was recognized that these interactions are fundamental to problems of soil fertility, as weIl as to those of soil pollution. After the group had received the official support of ISSS at its 12th International Congress in New Delhi in 1982 it set as its priority the assembling and evaluation of information, relevant to the soil and environmental sciences, concerning the composition and structure of soil colloids. Prior to that aseries of Position Papers were published in the Bulletin of the International Society of Soil Science (Vol. 61, 1981) outlining the state of knowledge about the composition and properties of soil colloids.