Heavy-metals in polluted soils can accumulate in plants and threaten crop safety. To evaluate the risk of heavy-metal pollution in leafy lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), two pot experiments were conducted to investigate Cd and Pb accumulation and transfer potential in 28 cultivars of lettuce and to screen for low-Cd and low-Pb accumulative cultivars. In the three treatments, 5.2-fold, 4.8-fold and 4.8-fold differences in the shoot Cd concentration were observed between the cultivars with the highest and the lowest Cd concentrations, respectively. This genotype variation was sufficiently large to identify low-Cd accumulative genotypes to reduce Cd contamination in food. Cadmium accumulation in the low-Cd accumulative genotypes was significantly positively correlated with Pb accumulation. At the cultivar level, Cd and Pb accumulation in lettuce was stable and genotype-dependent. High Pb soil levels did not affect shoot Cd accumulation in lettuce. Lettuce was concluded to be at high risk for Cd pollution and low risk for Pb pollution. Among the tested cultivars, cvs. SJGT, YLGC, N518, and KR17 had the lowest Cd and Pb accumulation abilities in shoots and are thus important parental material for breeding pollution-safe cultivars to minimize Cd and Pb accumulation.