Municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration has become an important anthropogenic source of heavy metals (HMs) to the environment. However, assessing the impact of MSW incineration on HMs in the environment, especially soils, can be a challenging task because of various HM sources. To investigate the effect of MSW incineration on HMs in soils, soil samples collected at different distances from four MSW incinerators in Shanghai, China were analyzed for their contents of eight HMs (antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc) and lead (Pb) isotope ratios. Source identification and apportionment of HMs were accomplished using principal component analysis and Pb isotope analysis. Results indicated that the relatively high contents of cadmium, lead, antimony, and zinc in the soils at 250 m and 750–1250 m away from the MSW incinerators were related to MSW incineration, while the elevated contents of the other four HMs were associated with other anthropogenic activities. Based on Pb isotope analysis, the contribution ratio of MSW incineration (which had been operated for more than 14 years) to the accumulation of Pb in soil was approximately 10% on average, which was lower than coal combustion only. Incinerator emissions of Pb could have a measurable effect on the soil contamination within a limited area (≤ 1500 m).