A solid co-precipitated material obtained from an ion-pair of 2-(5-bromo-2-pyridylazo)-5-diethylaminophenol (5-Br-PADAP) and tetraphenylborate (TPB), and microcrystals of naphthalene has been tried as an adsorbent for the column preconcentration of copper(I), iron(II), nickel(II) and Zn(II). The retention of the metal ions was found to be maximum and constant in the pH range 3.0-8.0 for Cu, 3.8-7.5 for Fe, 4.5-7.5 for Ni and 8.5-11.0 for Zn. The elements were determined by FAAS after dissolving the metal along with the adsorbent in an organic solvent (10 mL of DMF). The characteristic concentration for 1% absorption was found to be 0.0332, 0.0536, 0.0537 and 0.0142 (aqueous medium 0.0512, 0.0638, 0.1294 and 0.0216) microg mL(-1) for Cu, Fe, Ni and Zn, respectively. The calibration plot was linear in the range 1.5-20.0, 2.0-38.0, 2.5-25.0 and 0.5-15.0 micro g in the final 10 mL of DMF solution for Cu, Fe, Ni and Zn, respectively. Various parameters such as pH, volume of buffer, amount of adsorbent, flow rate, preconcentration factor and effect of diverse salts and cations were studied. The optimised conditions were utilized for the determination of Cu, Fe, Ni and Zn in various water, beverage and human hair samples.