Abstract The influence of magnesium, calcium and strontium cations on the kinetics of dissolution of barium fluoride crystals has been studied in aqueous solutions using a constant-composition method at 25°C. The addition of metal ions even at relatively low concentration (5 × 10 -6 mol dm -3) markedly retard the rates of dissolution. Moreover, the effect was enhanced as the relatives undersaturation decreased. The retardation effect of these additives has been attributed to the blocking of active sites by adsorption of metal ions at the crystal surfaces. Inhibition of dissolution by metal ions can be interpreted in terms of a Langmuir isotherm.