Metallothioneins (MTs) are low molecular weight, cysteine-rich, metal-binding proteins. Because of their rich thiol groups. MTs bind to the biologically essential metals and perform these metals' homeostatic regulations; absorb the heavy metals and assist with their transportation and extraction. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between the metallothionein 2A (MT2A) core promoter region - 5 A/G single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and Cd, Pb, Zn and Cu levels in the blood samples. MT2A polymorphism was determined by the standard polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) technique using the 616 blood samples and the genotype frequencies were found as 86.6% homozygote typical (AA), 12.8% heterozygote (AG) and 0.6% homozygote atypical (GG). Metal levels were analyzed by dual atomic absorption spectrophotometer system and the average levels of Cd, Pb, Zn and Cu in the blood samples were 1.69 +/- 1.57 ppb, 30.62 +/- 14.13 ppb, 0.98 +/- 0.49 ppm and 1.04 +/- 0.45 ppm, respectively. As a result; highly statistically significant associations were detected between the - 5 A/C core promoter region SNP in the MT2A gene and Cd, Pb and Zn levels (p = 0.004, p = 0.012 and p = 0.002, respectively), but no association was found with Cu level (p = 0.595). Individuals with the GG genotype had statistically lower Zn level and higher Cd and Pb levels in the blood samples than individuals with AA and AG genotypes. This study suggests that having the GG genotype individuals may be more sensitive for the metal toxicity and they should be more careful about protecting their health against the toxic effects of the heavy metals. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.