Heavy metals in the environment originate from both human activities and natural processes. Exposure to these metals can result in important changes to immune activity. Depending on the metal and dose, these changes can result in enhanced immune function, diminished immune responses, or altered responses that produce autoimmune disease. One of the intriguing aspects of these various phenomena are the multiple points of interaction with cellular machinery at which metals elicit these changes. The individual sections of this review serve to underscore the variety of targets that can be altered by exposure to heavy metals, and provide some comparisons between the effects of specific heavy metals on the immune system. These observations may ultimately lead us to a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms by which metals alter the immune system, and may enable the development of countermeasures to offset these effects.