Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were proposed as a new chemical modifier for the elimination of interferences when determining arsenic and antimony in aqueous NaCl or Na2SO4 solutions and in sea-water by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry. For this purpose, the AgNPs were prepared simply by reducing silver nitrate with sodium citrate. The effects of pyrolysis and atomization temperatures and the amounts of interferents and modifiers on the sensitivities of these elements were investigated. In the presence of the proposed modifier, a pyrolysis temperature of at least 1100 degrees C for arsenic and 900 degrees C for antimony could be applied without the loss of analytes, and the interferences were greatly reduced to allow for interference-free determination. The detection limits (N = 10, 3 sigma) for arsenic and antimony were 0.022 ng and 0.046 ng, respectively. AgNPs are cheaper and more available compared to many other modifiers. No background was detected, and the blank values were negligible. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.