1-(2-pyridylazo) 2-naphtol (PAN) impregnated Ambersorb 563 resin was used as solid phase extractor of copper, nickel, cadmium, lead, chromium and cobalt ions in aqueous solutions prior to their atomic absorption spectrometric determinations. The parameters including pH, sample volume, matrix effects were also investigated. The relative standard deviation (R.S.D.) of the combined method of sample treatment, preconcentration and determination with atomic absorption spectrometry is generally lower than 10%. The limit of detection was between 0.21 and 1.4 mug l(-1). The results were used for preconcentration of analyte ions from natural water samples. The method was also applied to a stream sediment standard reference material (GBW7309) for the determination of Cu, Ni, Cd, Pb, Cr and Co. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.