A multiple-year emission inventory of As, Cd, Hg, and Pb from brick making plants in China has been first established for the period 2008–2013 by employing the available emission factors and annual activity data. The atmospheric emissions of toxic elements were determined by a bottom-up methodology with the provincial-level statistical data on raw materials (coal, coal gangue, coal ash and clay) consumption and the reasonable emission factors of toxic elements. The provincial average concentrations of toxic elements in different raw materials were elaborately reviewed and calculated with multiple statistical mean calculation methods. Simulation experiments were performed to determine the emission factors of toxic elements from different raw materials. The results show that the total national emissions of As, Cd, Hg, and Pb from brick-making plants have been increasing to 644.05 t, 94.96 t, 9.71 t, and 3269.79 t in 2013, at an annual average growth rate of 22.8%, 25.6%, 19.2%, and 24.6% due to the lack of atmospheric pollutant control devices, respectively, which are higher than that of emissions from coal-fired plants (except for Hg) in China. Coal ash is the main source of As, Cd, and Pb emissions, accounting for 87.9%, 89.5%, and 88.4% of the respective total emissions due to the high consumption with high concentration and emission factor of TE. Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan and Guangxi are the largest emitting provinces. Advanced technologies and integrated countermeasures to control toxic elements from brick making plants are urgently needed. Copyright © 2015 Royal Society of Chemistry.