The adsorption of Hg(II) from aqueous solution at 293 K by activated carbon obtained from furfural is studied. The carbon is prepared by polymerization of furfural following carbonization and activation of the obtained polymer material with water vapor at 800 degreesC. Adsorption studies of Hg(II) are carried out varying some conditions: treatment time, metal ion concentration, adsorbent amount and pH. It is determined that Hg(II) adsorption follows both Langmuir and Freundlich isotherms. The adsorption capacity of the carbon is 174 mg/g. It is determined that Hg(II) uptake increases with increasing pH. Desorption studies are performed with hot water. The percent recovery of Hg(II) is 6%. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.