Magnetic poly(vinyl alcohol) (mPVAL) gel beads (150-200 mum in diameter) carrying Procion Blue MX-3G (122 mumol/g) were used for the removal of different amounts (50-650 mg/l) of Hg(II) ions from aqueous solutions. The mPVAL gel beads were characterized by swelling tests, electron spin resonance (ESR), elemental analysis and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The swelling ratio of the mPVAL gel beads, which had a spherical shape and porous structure, was 76%. The presence of magnetite particles in the polymeric structure was confirmed by ESR spectroscopy. The capacity of the beads towards Hg(II) ions increased with time during the First 10 min of adsorption and then levelled off towards an equilibrium adsorption capacity. The adsorption of Hg(II) ions on the plain beads was very low (0.57 mg/g) but increased substantially (to 69.2 mg/g) on beads to which Procion Blue MX-3G had been attached.