A study was made of the influence of extraction of lead and zinc ores in the northern part of Viet Nam (the Red river basin, Chodon district of Bac Can Province, and the basins of the Dai, Ban Thi, Ta Dieng and Cau rivers). Background concentrations of macro- and microelements and biogenic elements are determined in the river waters and water extracts from bottom sediments of small streams of the study area. A significance exceedance of background concentrations was revealed in stretches of the headwaters of the Ban Thi and Dai rivers caused by a combination of natural and anthropogenic factors. It is established that the river waters near the pollution sources contain increased (compared with the geochemical background) concentrations of Zn, Pb, Fe, Ni, Co, As, Bi, Cd, Cs, Sb, Ag, NO2– and SO42–. The waters are estimated as moderately and heavily polluted, and at the other points as minimally polluted. It is determined that the level of accumulation of matter in water extracts from bottom sediments with respect to the geochemical background in the vicinity of the ore dressing factories corresponds to weakly and heavily polluted bottom sediments, and further downstream, to the minimum level of pollution. It is shown that the influence of extraction of lead and zinc ores on the state of small streams is observed in stretches as long as 11–12 km (with a maximum in stretches of up to 4.5 km). The mathematical model of distribution of Pb and Zn distribution in the river waters of the study area has been developed and tested.Keywords: anthropogenic influence, background concentrations, pollution of river waters, Northern Vietnam, Red river basin.