Kantubek used to have a population of approximately 1,500, and was the place the former Soviet Union government used to test biological weapons. In the 1930s, experiments were conducted on monkeys.
Brian Hayes, a biochemical engineer with the United States Department of Defense's Threat Reduction Agency, led an expedition in the spring and summer of 2002 to neutralize what was probably the world's largest anthrax dumping grounds. His team of 113 people neutralized between 100 and 200 tonnes of anthrax over a three-month period. The cost of the cleanup operation was approximately US$5,000,000.