Field portable methods are often needed in risk characterization, assessment and management to rapidly determine metal concentrations in environmental samples. Examples are for determining: "hot spots" of soil contamination, whether dust wipe lead levels meet housing occupancy standards, and worker respiratory protection levels. For over 30 years portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzers have been available for the in situ, non-destructive, measurement of lead in paint. Recent advances made possible their use for analysis of airborne dust filter samples, soil, and dust wipes. Research at the University of Cincinnati with the NITON 700 Series XRF instrument (40 millicurie Cadmium 109 source, L X-Rays) demonstrated its proficiency on air sample filters (NIOSH Method No. 7702, "Lead by Field Portable XRF; limit of detection 6 microg per sample; working range 17-1,500 microg/m3 air). Research with lead dust wipe samples from housing has also shown promising results. This XRF instrument was used in 1997 in Poland on copper smelter area soil samples with the cooperation of the Wroclaw Medical Academy and the Foundation for the Children from the Copper Basin (Legnica). Geometric mean soil lead concentrations were 200 ppm with the portable XRF, 201 ppm with laboratory-based XRF (Kevex) and 190 ppm using atomic absorption (AA). Correlations of field portable XRF and AA results were excellent for samples sieved to less than 125 micrometers with R-squared values of 0.997, 0.957, and 0.976 for lead, copper and zinc respectively. Similarly, correlations were excellent for soil sieved to less than 250 micrometers, where R-squared values were 0. 924, 0.973, and 0.937 for lead, copper and zinc, respectively. The field portable XRF instrument appears to be useful for the determination of soil pollution by these metals in industrial regions.