The recovery of dissolved platinum group elements (PGE: Pd(II), Pt(IV) and Rh(III)) added to Milli-Q® water, artificial freshwater and seawater and filtered natural waters has been studied, as a function of pH and PGE concentration, in containers of varying synthetic composition. The least adsorptive and/or precipitative loss was obtained for borosilicate glass under most of the conditions employed, whereas the greatest loss was obtained for low-density polyethylene. Of the polymeric materials tested, the adsorptive and/or precipitative loss of PGE was lowest for fluorinated ethylene propylene (Teflon®). The loss of Pd(II) in freshwater was significant due to its affinity for surface adsorption and its relatively low solubility. The presence of natural dissolved organic matter increases the recovery of Pd(II) but enhances the loss of Pt(IV). The loss of Rh(III) in seawater was significant and was mainly due to precipitation, whereas Pd(II) recovery was enhanced, compared to freshwater, because of its complexation with chloride. The results have important implications regarding protocols employed for sample preservation and controlled laboratory experiments used in the study of the speciation and biogeochemical behaviour of PGE.