A novel preconcentration procedure based coprecipitation of Cu(II), Co(II), Cd(II), Ni(II), Mn(II), Fe(III) and Pb(II) on thulium hydroxide precipitate has been presented prior to flame atomic absorption spectrometric determination of them in environmental samples. The analytical parameters that influenced the quantitative coprecipitation of analytes including amount of thulium, pH, duration time, etc. were investigated. The effects of alkali, earth alkali, and some transition metals on the recoveries were also studied. Under the optimized conditions, the detection limits (3 sigma, N = 10) for the analytes were in the range of 0.1-1.6 mu g/L, respectively. The validation of the presented coprecipitation method was checked by the analysis of certified reference materials (TMDA 54.4 fortified lake water and HR-1 Humber river sediment). The proposed coprecipitation method has been successfully applied for the determination of traces of copper, cobalt, cadmium, nickel, manganese, iron and lead in food and environmental samples. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.