A procedure for the determination of trace amounts of chromium(III), iron(HI), lead(II) and manganese(II) is described, that combines atomic absorption spectrometry-europium hydroxide coprecipitation. The influences of analytical parameters including amount of europium(III), amount of ammonia, sample volume, etc. were investigated on the recoveries of analyte ions. The effects of concomitant ions were also examined. The recoveries of the analyte ions were in the range of 95-104%. The detection limits (3s) were in the range of 1.7-17.1 mu g/L. The validation of the presented coprecipitation procedure was performed by the analysis of Bovine Liver 1577-b and BCR-144R Sewage Sludge (domestic origin) standard reference materials. The method was applied to the determination of analytes in real samples including natural waters and some food, soil and fertilizer samples, etc. and good results were obtained (relative standard deviations < 10%, recoveries > 95%). (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.