The major health effects of the massive shrinkage of the Aral Sea have mostly to do with what is now in the places that are dry as a result of the sea receding. These dried up areas are now salt flats where dangerous toxic chemicals have become concentrated. All of the chemicals that were in the water have become concentrated in the dust and salt in these areas. The chemicals end up causing problems for the people in the area because they can blow around the region in dust storms.
These toxins have had horrific effects on the public. For example, the rate of infant mortality in the areas around the Aral Sea is around 40 times higher than it is in Russia and 80 times higher than in the United States. There are also highly elevated rates of cancer and other diseases in this area.