Abstract Microporous polyvinylbutyral membranes were prepared by a solvent-casting technique. An affinity dye, i.e. Cibacron Blue F3GA was then immobilized. These affinity membranes with a high water content of 89%, and carrying 3.3 mmol Cibacron Blue F3GA/m 2 membrane were used in the adsorption/stripping of some selected heavy-metal ions (e.g. Cu(II), Zn(II), Cd(II) and Pb(II) from aqueous media containing different amounts of these ions (0.024–4.60 mmol/1) and at different pH values (2.0–9.0). Adsorption rates were very high, and adsorption equilibria were reached in ca. 15 min. The maximum adsorptions of heavy-metal ions onto the Cibacron Blue F3GA-immobilized affinity membranes from their single solutions were 7.0 mmol/m 2 for Cu(II), 16.8 mmol/m 2 for Zn(II), 22.2 mmol/m 2 for Cd(II), and 34.2 mmol/m 2 for Pb(II). Similar behavior was observed when the heavy-metal ions competed (in the case of the adsorption from their mixture), the order of affinity was Pb(II) > Cd(II) > Zn(II) > Cu(II). Heavy-metal ions regeneration was achieved by using 0.1 M HNO 3 in 30 min. It was observed that heavy-metal ions could be repeatedly adsorbed and tripped without significant loss in adsorption capacity.