Metal removal from contaminated effluents was examined following reaction with natural apatites of biological and geological origin or a synthetic hydroxylapatite (HAP). Mammalian meat and bone meal (MBM), a by-product from meat industry, was the biological apatite source. The effect of incineration on metal removal capacity of MBM and HAP was also examined. The reactivity of apatites for all tested metals (Pb, Cd, Cu and Zn) followed the general order: synthetic > biological > mineral. For all apatites tested, Pb was removed best and preferentially from multi-metal solutions. MBM and HAP (0.5 g solid) removed Pb completely from both highly concentrated single metal solutions (50 ml, 1000 mg/L Pb) and from multi-metal solutions (50 ml) with 100 mg/L each of Cd, Cu and Zn in addition to Pb. The incineration of MBM (725 °C and 850 °C) reduced significantly its capacity for removal of Zn (by 47%, from 56 mg/g to 9 mg/g) and Cd (by 38%, from 53 mg/g to 13 mg/g) in particular and to a lesser extent for Cu (by 14%, from 61 mg/g to 46 mg/g) while the removal of Pb was not affected (100 mg/g). The same pattern was observed for incinerated HAP. SEM and XRD analysis indicated that HAP reacted with the metals by precipitation of pure metal phosphates-Pb hydroxylapatite, Zn phosphate (hopeite), a Cd phosphate (identified only by ED-SEM) and Cu phosphate (libenthenite).