Acrylamide/itaconic acid (AAm/IA) hydrogels containing different quantifies of itaconic acid have been irradiated with gamma radiation. The hydrogels were used in an experiment concerning the adsorption of cationic dyes such as Basic Blue 9, Basic Violet 1 and Basic Blue 12. In the experiments of the adsorption of dyes from their synthetic aqueous solutions, type S adsorption isotherms were found. One mole of monomeric unit of AAm/IA hydrogels adsorbed 78.5-513.1 mu mole of Basic Blue 9, 60.2-641.1 mu mole of Basic Violet 1 and, 28.8-593.3 mu mole of Basic Blue 12, while acrylamide hydrogel did not adsorb any cationic dye. As a result, if was shown that the AAm/IA hydrogels could be used as an adsorbent for water pollutants such as dyes, and immobilization of these organic contaminants in the hydrogels from waste wafer can solve one of the most important environmental problems of the textile industry. (C) 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.