An enrichment procedure for cadmium and lead after their solid phase extraction as dibenzyldithiocarbamate chelates on Dowex Optipore V-493 has been established prior to their flame atomic absorption spectrometric determinations. The analytical parameters including pH, amounts of dibenzyidithiocarbamate, sample volume, etc., were investigated. The effects of alkaline and earth alkaline ions and some metal ions on the retentions of analytes on Dowex Optipore V-493 resin were examined. Under the optimized conditions, the detection limits (3s, n = 21) for cadmium and lead were 0.43 mu g L-1 and 0.65 mu g L-1, respectively. The relative standard deviation (R.S.D.), and the recoveries of standard addition for this method were lower than 5% (n = 11) and 95-102%, respectively. Three standard reference samples (LGC 6010 Hard drinking water, NIST SRM 2711 Montana soil and GBW 07605 Tea) were introduced for accuracy and precision of analytical data. The proposed solid phase extraction system was successfully applied to the analysis of environmental samples. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.