The measurement of trace element concentrations in the living tissue of the limpet Patella vulgata is proposed as a rapid and inexpensive technique for monitoring pollution of coastal water. Preliminary investigation of the heavy metal content, including Ag, Hg, Cr, Ni, Cu and Zn, of both the skeletal and living parts of this common coastal mollusc was carried out on samples collected along the shore from Tel-Aviv at the Reading sewage pipe, to Dor. This area is denoted by a uniform coastal rock type ('kurkar' sandstone). While the trace metal content of the carbonate skeletal material remained constant over this interval, significant variations were noted in the soft parts. The decrease in metal uptake appears to be a function of increasing distance from the main source of contamination.