In this study, dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction (DLLME) and slotted quartz tube (SQT) were coupled to flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS) to increase the sensitivity of lead. Conditions such as the formation of the lead-dithizone complex, efficiency of the DLLME method and the output of the SQT were systematically optimized to improve the detection limit for the analyte. The conventional FAAS system was improved upon by about 3.0 times with SQT-FAAS, 32 times with DLLME-FAAS and 142 times with DLLME-SQT-FAAS. The method was applicable over a wide linear range (10-500 mu g L-1). The limit of detection (LOD) determined by DLLME-SQT-FAAS for seawater and mussel were 2.7 mu g L-1 and 270 mu g kg(-1), respectively. The percent recoveries obtained for mussel and seawater samples (spiked at 20 and 50 mu g L-1) were 95-96% and 98-110%, respectively. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.