An increased number of thalassaemia patients treated with effective chelation therapy protocols are achieving body iron levels similar to those of normal individuals. Iron chelation therapy has also been recently used in a number of other categories of patients with no excess body iron load such as neurodegenerative, renal and infectious diseases. Chelation therapy in the absence of iron overload in the latter conditions raises many safety issues including chelator overdose toxicity and toxicity related to iron and other essential metal deficiencies. Preliminary preclinical and clinical toxicity evidence suggest that deferoxamine and deferasirox can only be safely used for these non-iron loaded conditions for short-term treatments of a few weeks, whereas deferiprone can be used for longer term treatments of many months. The selection of the chelating drug and appropriate dose protocols for targeting specific organs and conditions is critical for the safety of patients with normal iron stores. Chelation therapy is likely to play a major role as adjuvant, alternative or main therapy in many non-iron loading conditions in the forthcoming years.