Development of methods to measure the effect of man's residuals on soil ecosystems is desirable. Earthworms, as one of the largest and most easily obtained components of the soil biota, are suitable for evaluating perturbations to soil ecosystems. The impact of five metals (Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) on the survival of the earthworm Eisenia fetida (Savigny) was evaluated using the contact and artificial soil tests. There was no difference in toxicity between the different metal salts (acetate, chloride, nitrate, and sulfate) of each of the five metals using the contact test. In the contact test, the order of toxicity, from most toxic to least toxic, was CU>Zn>Ni=Cd>Pb. The nitrate salt of the five metals was tested using the artificial soil test and the order of toxicity, from most to least toxic, was Cu=Zn=Ni>Cd>Pb. Stress on earthworm populations, as shown by weight loss, was shown to increase with increasing concentrations of metal salts.