Solvent impregnated resins (SIRs) have been stabilized by the formation of a surface coating consisting of crosslinked poly(vinyl alcohol). Amberlite XAD-4 and vinyl sulphone respectively proved to be the most effective matrix and crosslinking agent for the protective layer in the preparation of SIRs containing Aliquat 336 reagent. The derived materials have been characterized in terms of Aliquat 336 content, amount of poly(vinyl alcohol), sulphur elemental content in the protective layer as well as operational stability. It has been found that the Aliquat 336 loading of impregnated XAD-4 is 0.82 mmol of extractant/g: this falls to 0.55 mmol of extractant/g after coating with a layer of vinyl sulphone crosslinked poly(vinyl alcohol). (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.