The European heavy metals in mosses survey provides data on the concentration of 10 heavy metals in naturally growing mosses. The survey has been repeated at five-yearly intervals and in this paper we report on the temporal trends in the concentration of cadmium, lead and mercury between 1990 and 2000. Metal- and country-specific temporal trends were observed. In general, the concentration of lead and cadmium in mosses decreased between 1990 and 2000; the decline was higher for lead than cadmium. For mercury not enough data were available to establish temporal trends between 1990 and 1995, but between 1995 and 2000 the mercury concentration in mosses did not change across Europe. The observed temporal trends for the concentrations in mosses were similar to the trends reported for the modelled total deposition of cadmium, lead and mercury in Europe. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.