Cement mortars loaded with Cr, Pb and Zn were modified by polymeric admixtures [chitosans with low (LMWCH), medium (MMWCH) and high (HMWCH) molecular weight and hydroxypropylchitosan (HPCH)]. The influence of the simultaneous presence of the heavy metal and the polymeric additive on the fresh properties (consistency, water retention and setting time) and on the compressive strength of the mortars was assessed. Leaching patterns as well as properties of the cement mortars were related to the heavy metals-bearing solid phases. Chitosan admixtures lessened the effect of the addition of Cr and Pb on the setting time. In all instances, chitosans improved the compressive strength of the Zn-bearing mortars yielding values as high as 15 N mm¿2. A newly reported Zn phase, dietrichite (ZnAl2(SO4)4·22H2O) was identified under the presence of LMWCH: it was responsible for an improvement by 24% in Zn retention. Lead-bearing silicates, such as plumalsite (Pb4Al2(SiO3)7), were also identified by XRD confirming that Pb was mainly retained as a part of the silicate network after Ca ion exchange. Also, the presence of polymer induced the appearance and stabilization of some Pb(IV) species. Finally, diverse chromate species were identified and related to the larger leaching values of Cr(VI).