Due to the toxicity of chromium, species depend on their chemical properties and bioavailabilities, speciation of chromium is very important in environmental samples. A speciation procedure for chromium(III), chromium(VI) and total chromium in environmental samples is presented in this work, prior to flame atomic absorption spectrometric determination of chromium. The procedure is based on the adsorption of Cr(III)-diphenylcarbazone complex on Amberlite XAD-1180 resin. After oxidation of Cr(III), the developed solid phase extraction system was applied to determinate the total chromium. Cr(III) was calculated as the difference between the total Cr content and the Cr(VI) content. The analytical conditions for the quantitative recoveries of Cr(VI) on Amberlite XAD-1180 resin were investigated. The effects of some alkaline, earth alkaline, metal ions and also some anions were also examined. Preconcentration factor was found to be 75. The detection limits (LOD) based on three times sigma of the blank (N: 21) for Cr(VI) and total chromium were 7.7 and 8.6 mu g/L, respectively. Satisfactory results for the analysis of total chromium in the stream sediment (GBW7310) certified reference material for the validation of the presented method was obtained. The procedure was applied to food, water and pharmaceutical samples successfully. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.