Arctic-alpine tundra habitats are very vulnerable to the input of relatively small amounts of xenobiotics, and thus their level in such areas must be carefully controlled. Therefore, we collected the terrestrial widespread moss Racomitrium lanuginosum (Hedw.) Brid. in Spitsbergen in the Arctic moss lichen tundra and, for comparison, in the Arctic-alpine tundra in the Karkonosze (SW Poland). Concentrations of the elements Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Li, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, V, and Zn in this species and in the parent rock material were measured. We tested the following hypothesis: R. lanuginosum from Spitsbergen contains lower metal levels than the species from the Karkonosze collected at altitudes influenced by long-range transport from former Black Triangle industry. Principal component and classification analysis (PCCA) ordination revealed that mosses of Spitsbergen were distinguished by a significantly higher Na concentration of marine spray origin and mosses of Karkonosze were distinguished by significantly higher concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Li, Mn, Pb, V, and Zn probably from long-range atmospheric transport. The influence of the polar station with a waste incinerator resulted in significantly higher Co, Li, and Ni concentrations in neighbouring mosses in comparison with this species from other sites. This investigation contributes to the use of R. lanuginosum as a bioindicator for metal contamination in Arctic and alpine tundra regions characterised by severe climate habitats with a restricted number of species. This moss enables the control of pollution usually brought solely by long-range atmospheric transport in high mountains as well as in Arctic areas.