A preconcentration-separation technique for lead(II), cadmium(II), chromium(III), nickel(II) and manganese(II) ions has been established. The procedure is based on coprecipitation of these ions by the aid of Cu(II)-dibenzyldithiocarbamate precipitate. The precipitate was dissolved in 0.5 mL of concentrated HNO3, and made up to 5 mL with distilled water. The heavy metals were determined by flame atomic absorption spectrometer. The effects of analytical parameters like pH, amounts of reagents, sample volume, etc. on the recoveries of heavy metals were investigated. The influences of matrix ions were also examined. The detection limits for the heavy metals based on 3 sigma (N=21) were found in the range of 0.34-0.87 mu g L-1. In order to validate the proposed method, two certified reference materials of NIST SRM 2711 Montana soil and NIST SRM 1515 Apple leaves were analyzed with satisfactory results. The proposed method was applied for the determination of lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel and manganese in environmental samples. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.