Abstract A comparison of the effects of dissecting tools composed of various materials on the trace element content of the muscle of the marine bluefish, Pomatomus saltatrix, and the soft tissues of freshwater mussels, Eliptio complanatus and Lampsilus radiata, is presented. The fish were dissected with blades made of stainless steel, Lexan plastic, titanium, and Teflon-coated stainless steel. The mussels were dissected with stainless and Teflon tools only. Elements measured included As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, Se, Sn, Te, V, and Zn. Significant concentration differences ( P = 0.01) were not found for any element in fish or mussel samples dissected by the different tools.