Particles of spent antifouling paint collected from a marine boatyard were ground and subsequently administered to the filter-feeding bivalve, Mytilus edulis, maintained in static aquaria. Concentrations of Cu and Zn were measured in seawater throughout a 16 h feeding phase and a 24 h depuration phase, in rejected and egested particles collected during the respective phases, and in the organisms themselves at the end of the experiments. Concentrations and distributions of Cu and Zn in processed particles indicated that M. edulis was able to ingest paint particles, regardless of whether nutritionally viable silt was present, and no mechanism of particle discrimination was evident. Enrichment of Cu and Zn in the visceral mass of individuals and in the aqueous phase during depuration supported these assertions, although elevated concentrations in other compartments of the organism (e.g. shell, gill) suggested that biotic and abiotic uptake of aqueous metal was also important.