The effects of chelating drugs used clinically as antidotes to metal toxicity are reviewed. Human exposure to a number of metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, manganese, aluminum, iron, copper, thallium, arsenic, chromium, nickel and platinum may lead to toxic effects, which are different for each metal. Similarly the pharmacokinetic data, clinical use and adverse effects of most of the chelating drugs used in human metal poisoning are also different for each chelating drug. The chelating drugs with worldwide application are dimercaprol (BAL), succimer (meso-DMSA), unithiol (DMPS), D-penicillamine (DPA), N-acetyl-Dpenicillamine (NAPA), calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate (CaNa2EDTA), calcium trisodium or zinc trisodium diethylenetriaminepentaacetate (CaNa3DTPA, ZnNa3DTPA), deferoxamine (DFO), deferiprone (L1), triethylenetetraamine (trientine), N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and Prussian blue (PB). Several new synthetic homologues and experimental chelating agents have been designed and tested in vivo for their metal binding effects. These include three groups of synthetic chelators, namely the polyaminopolycarboxylic acids (EDTA and DTPA), the derivatives of BAL (DMPS, DMSA and mono- and dialkylesters of DMSA) and the carbodithioates. Many factors have been shown to affect the efficacy of the chelation treatment in metal poisoning. Within this context it has been shown in experiments using young and adult animals that metal toxicity and chelation effects could be influenced by age. These findings may have a bearing in the design of new therapeutic chelation protocols for metal toxicity.