Lead (/ˈlɛd/) is a chemical element with symbol Pb (from the Latin plumbum) and atomic number 82. It is a heavy metal that is denser than most common materials. Lead is soft and malleable, and also has a relatively low melting point. When freshly cut, lead is silvery with a hint of blue; it tarnishes to a dull gray color when exposed to air. Lead has the highest atomic number of any stable element and three of its isotopes each include a major decay chain of heavier elements.

Lead is a relatively unreactive post-transition metal. Its weak metallic character is illustrated by its amphoteric nature; lead and lead oxides react with acids and bases, and it tends to form covalent bonds. Compounds of lead are usually found in the +2 oxidation state rather than the +4 state common with lighter members of the carbon group. Exceptions are mostly limited to organolead compounds. Like the lighter members of the group, lead tends to bond with itself; it can form chains and polyhedral structures.

Lead is easily extracted from its ores; prehistoric people in Western Asia knew of it. Galena, a principal ore of lead, often bears silver, interest in which helped initiate widespread extraction and use of lead in ancient Rome. Lead production declined after the fall of Rome and did not reach comparable levels until the Industrial Revolution. In 2014, the annual global production of lead was about ten million tonnes, over half of which was from recycling. Lead's high density, low melting point, ductility and relative inertness to oxidation make it useful. These properties, combined with its relative abundance and low cost, resulted in its extensive use in construction, plumbing, batteries, bullets and shot, weights, solders, pewters, fusible alloys, white paints, leaded gasoline, and radiation shielding.

In the late 19th century, lead's toxicity was recognized, and its use has since been phased out of many applications. However, many countries still allow the sale of products that expose humans to lead, including some types of paints and bullets. Lead is a toxin that accumulates in soft tissues and bones, it acts as a neurotoxin damaging the nervous system and interfering with the function of biological enzymes, causing neurological disorders, such as brain damage and behavioral problems.

Lead,  82Pb
A small gray metal cube surrounded by three gray metal nuggets in front of a light gray background
Pronunciation/ˈlɛd/ (LED)
Appearancemetallic gray
Standard atomic weight Ar, std(Pb)207.2(1)[1]
Lead in the periodic table
Hydrogen Helium
Lithium Beryllium Boron Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen Fluorine Neon
Sodium Magnesium Aluminium Silicon Phosphorus Sulfur Chlorine Argon
Potassium Calcium Scandium Titanium Vanadium Chromium Manganese Iron Cobalt Nickel Copper Zinc Gallium Germanium Arsenic Selenium Bromine Krypton
Rubidium Strontium Yttrium Zirconium Niobium Molybdenum Technetium Ruthenium Rhodium Palladium Silver Cadmium Indium Tin Antimony Tellurium Iodine Xenon
Caesium Barium Lanthanum Cerium Praseodymium Neodymium Promethium Samarium Europium Gadolinium Terbium Dysprosium Holmium Erbium Thulium Ytterbium Lutetium Hafnium Tantalum Tungsten Rhenium Osmium Iridium Platinum Gold Mercury (element) Thallium Lead Bismuth Polonium Astatine Radon
Francium Radium Actinium Thorium Protactinium Uranium Neptunium Plutonium Americium Curium Berkelium Californium Einsteinium Fermium Mendelevium Nobelium Lawrencium Rutherfordium Dubnium Seaborgium Bohrium Hassium Meitnerium Darmstadtium Roentgenium Copernicium Nihonium Flerovium Moscovium Livermorium Tennessine Oganesson


Atomic number (Z)82
Groupgroup 14 (carbon group)
Periodperiod 6
Element category  post-transition metal
Electron configuration[Xe] 4f14 5d10 6s2 6p2
Electrons per shell
2, 8, 18, 32, 18, 4
Physical properties
Phase at STPsolid
Melting point600.61 K ​(327.46 °C, ​621.43 °F)
Boiling point2022 K ​(1749 °C, ​3180 °F)
Density (near r.t.)11.34 g/cm3
when liquid (at m.p.)10.66 g/cm3
Heat of fusion4.77 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization179.5 kJ/mol
Molar heat capacity26.650 J/(mol·K)
Vapor pressure
P (Pa) 1 10 100 1 k 10 k 100 k
at T (K) 978 1088 1229 1412 1660 2027
Atomic properties
Oxidation states−4, −2, −1, +1, +2, +3, +4 (an amphoteric oxide)
ElectronegativityPauling scale: 1.87 (+2)
Ionization energies
  • 1st: 715.6 kJ/mol
  • 2nd: 1450.5 kJ/mol
  • 3rd: 3081.5 kJ/mol
Atomic radiusempirical: 175 pm
Covalent radius146±5 pm
Van der Waals radius202 pm
Color lines in a spectral range
Spectral lines of lead
Other properties
Natural occurrenceprimordial
Crystal structureface-centered cubic (fcc)
Face-centered cubic crystal structure for lead
Speed of sound thin rod1190 m/s (at r.t.) (annealed)
Thermal expansion28.9 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity35.3 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity208 nΩ·m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic orderingdiamagnetic
Magnetic susceptibility−23.0×10−6 cm3/mol (at 298 K)[2]
Young's modulus16 GPa
Shear modulus5.6 GPa
Bulk modulus46 GPa
Poisson ratio0.44
Mohs hardness1.5
Brinell hardness38–50 MPa
CAS Number7439-92-1
Discoveryin the Middle East (7000 BCE)
Main isotopes of lead
Iso­tope Abun­dance Half-life (t1/2) Decay mode Pro­duct
204Pb 1.4% stable
206Pb 24.1% stable
207Pb 22.1% stable
208Pb 52.4% stable
Isotopic abundances vary greatly by sample

Physical properties


A lead atom has 82 electrons, arranged in an electron configuration of [Xe]4f145d106s26p2. The sum of lead's first and second ionization energies—the total energy required to remove the two 6p electrons—is close to that of tin, lead's upper neighbor in the carbon group. This is unusual; ionization energies generally fall going down a group, as an element's outer electrons become more distant from the nucleus, and more shielded by smaller orbitals. The similarity of ionization energies is caused by the lanthanide contraction—the decrease in element radii from lanthanum (atomic number 57) to lutetium (71), and the relatively small radii of the elements from hafnium (72) onwards. This is due to poor shielding of the nucleus by the lanthanide 4f electrons. The sum of the first four ionization energies of lead exceeds that of tin,[3] contrary to what periodic trends would predict. Relativistic effects, which become significant in heavier atoms, contribute to this behavior.[a] One such effect is the inert pair effect: the 6s electrons of lead become reluctant to participate in bonding, making the distance between nearest atoms in crystalline lead unusually long.[5]

Lead's lighter carbon group congeners form stable or metastable allotropes with the tetrahedrally coordinated and covalently bonded diamond cubic structure. The energy levels of their outer s- and p-orbitals are close enough to allow mixing into four hybrid sp3 orbitals. In lead, the inert pair effect increases the separation between its s- and p-orbitals, and the gap cannot be overcome by the energy that would be released by extra bonds following hybridization.[6] Rather than having a diamond cubic structure, lead forms metallic bonds in which only the p-electrons are delocalized and shared between the Pb2+ ions. Lead consequently has a face-centered cubic structure[7] like the similarly sized[8] divalent metals calcium and strontium.[9][b][c][d]


Pure lead has a bright, silvery appearance with a hint of blue.[14] It tarnishes on contact with moist air and takes on a dull appearance, the hue of which depends on the prevailing conditions. Characteristic properties of lead include high density, malleability, ductility, and high resistance to corrosion due to passivation.[15]

A sample of lead solidified from the molten state

Lead's close-packed face-centered cubic structure and high atomic weight result in a density[16] of 11.34 g/cm3, which is greater than that of common metals such as iron (7.87 g/cm3), copper (8.93 g/cm3), and zinc (7.14 g/cm3).[17] This density is the origin of the idiom to go over like a lead balloon.[18][19][e] Some rarer metals are denser: tungsten and gold are both at 19.3 g/cm3, and osmium—the densest metal known—has a density of 22.59 g/cm3, almost twice that of lead.[20]

Lead is a very soft metal with a Mohs hardness of 1.5; it can be scratched with a fingernail.[21] It is quite malleable and somewhat ductile.[22][f] The bulk modulus of lead—a measure of its ease of compressibility—is 45.8 GPa. In comparison, that of aluminium is 75.2 GPa; copper 137.8 GPa; and mild steel 160–169 GPa.[23] Lead's tensile strength, at 12–17 MPa, is low (that of aluminium is 6 times higher, copper 10 times, and mild steel 15 times higher); it can be strengthened by adding small amounts of copper or antimony.[24]

The melting point of lead—at 327.5 °C (621.5 °F)[25]—is very low compared to most metals.[16][g] Its boiling point of 1749 °C (3180 °F)[25] is the lowest among the carbon group elements. The electrical resistivity of lead at 20 °C is 192 nanoohm-meters, almost an order of magnitude higher than those of other industrial metals (copper at 15.43 nΩ·m; gold 20.51 nΩ·m; and aluminium at 24.15 nΩ·m).[27] Lead is a superconductor at temperatures lower than 7.19 K;[28] this is the highest critical temperature of all type-I superconductors and the third highest of the elemental superconductors.[29]

Main isotopes of lead (82Pb)
Iso­tope Decay
abun­dance half-life (t1/2) mode pro­duct
202Pb syn 5.25(28)×104 y ε 202Tl
204Pb 1.4% stable
205Pb trace 1.53(7)×107 y ε 205Tl
206Pb 24.1% stable
207Pb 22.1% stable
208Pb 52.4% stable
209Pb trace 3.253(14) h β 209Bi
210Pb trace 22.3(22) y β 210Bi
211Pb trace 36.1(2) min β 211Bi
212Pb trace 10.64(1) h β 212Bi
214Pb trace 26.8(9) min β 214Bi
Isotopic abundances vary greatly by sample
Standard atomic weight Ar, standard(Pb)


Natural lead consists of four stable isotopes with mass numbers of 204, 206, 207, and 208,[30] and traces of five short-lived radioisotopes.[31] The high number of isotopes is consistent with lead's atomic number being even.[h] Lead has a magic number of protons (82), for which the nuclear shell model accurately predicts an especially stable nucleus.[32] Lead-208 has 126 neutrons, another magic number, which may explain why lead-208 is extraordinarily stable.[32]

With its high atomic number, lead is the heaviest element whose natural isotopes are regarded as stable; lead-208 is the heaviest stable nucleus. (This distinction formerly fell to bismuth, with an atomic number of 83, until its only primordial isotope, bismuth-209, was found in 2003 to decay very slowly.)[i] The four stable isotopes of lead could theoretically undergo alpha decay to isotopes of mercury with a release of energy, but this has not been observed for any of them; their predicted half-lives range from 1035 to 10189 years[35] (at least 1025 times the current age of the universe).

Three of the stable isotopes are found in three of the four major decay chains: lead-206, lead-207, and lead-208 are the final decay products of uranium-238, uranium-235, and thorium-232, respectively.[36] These decay chains are called the uranium chain, the actinium chain, and the thorium chain.[37] Their isotopic concentrations in a natural rock sample depends greatly on the presence of these three parent uranium and thorium isotopes. For example, the relative abundance of lead-208 can range from 52% in normal samples to 90% in thorium ores;[38] for this reason, the standard atomic weight of lead is given to only one decimal place.[39] As time passes, the ratio of lead-206 and lead-207 to lead-204 increases, since the former two are supplemented by radioactive decay of heavier elements while the latter is not; this allows for lead–lead dating. As uranium decays into lead, their relative amounts change; this is the basis for uranium–lead dating.[40] Lead-207 exhibits nuclear magnetic resonance, a property that has been used to study its compounds in solution and solid state,[41][42] including in human body.[43]

Holsinger Meteorite
The Holsinger meteorite, the largest piece of the Canyon Diablo meteorite. Uranium–lead dating and lead–lead dating on this meteorite allowed refinement of the age of the Earth to 4.55 billion ± 70 million years.

Apart from the stable isotopes, which make up almost all lead that exists naturally, there are trace quantities of a few radioactive isotopes. One of them is lead-210; although it has a half-life of only 22.3 years,[30] small quantities occur in nature because lead-210 is produced by a long decay series that starts with uranium-238 (which has been present for billions of years on Earth). Lead-211, -212, and -214 are present in the decay chains of uranium-235, thorium-232, and uranium-238, respectively, so traces of all three of these lead isotopes are found naturally. Minute traces of lead-209 arise from the very rare cluster decay of radium-223, one of the daughter products of natural uranium-235, and the decay chain of neptunium-237, traces of which are produced by neutron capture in uranium ores. Lead-210 is particularly useful for helping to identify the ages of samples by measuring its ratio to lead-206 (both isotopes are present in a single decay chain).[44]

In total, 43 lead isotopes have been synthesized, with mass numbers 178–220.[30] Lead-205 is the most stable radioisotope, with a half-life of around 1.5×107 years.[j] The second-most stable is lead-202, which has a half-life of about 53,000 years, longer than any of the natural trace radioisotopes.[30]


Flame test: lead colors flame pale blue

Bulk lead exposed to moist air forms a protective layer of varying composition. Lead(II) carbonate is a common constituent;[46][47][48] the sulfate or chloride may also be present in urban or maritime settings.[49] This layer makes bulk lead effectively chemically inert in the air.[49] Finely powdered lead, as with many metals, is pyrophoric,[50] and burns with a bluish-white flame.[51]

Fluorine reacts with lead at room temperature, forming lead(II) fluoride. The reaction with chlorine is similar but requires heating, as the resulting chloride layer diminishes the reactivity of the elements.[49] Molten lead reacts with the chalcogens to give lead(II) chalcogenides.[52]

Lead metal resists sulfuric and phosphoric acid but not hydrochloric or nitric acid; the outcome depends on insolubility and subsequent passivation of the product salt.[53] Organic acids, such as acetic acid, dissolve lead in the presence of oxygen.[49] Concentrated alkalis will dissolve lead and form plumbites.[54]

Inorganic compounds

Lead shows two main oxidation states: +4 and +2. The tetravalent state is common for the carbon group. The divalent state is rare for carbon and silicon, minor for germanium, important (but not prevailing) for tin, and is the more important of the two oxidation states for lead.[49] This is attributable to relativistic effects, specifically the inert pair effect, which manifests itself when there is a large difference in electronegativity between lead and oxide, halide, or nitride anions, leading to a significant partial positive charge on lead. The result is a stronger contraction of the lead 6s orbital than is the case for the 6p orbital, making it rather inert in ionic compounds. The inert pair effect is less applicable to compounds in which lead forms covalent bonds with elements of similar electronegativity, such as carbon in organolead compounds. In these, the 6s and 6p orbitals remain similarly sized and sp3 hybridization is still energetically favorable. Lead, like carbon, is predominantly tetravalent in such compounds.[55]

There is a relatively large difference in the electronegativity of lead(II) at 1.87 and lead(IV) at 2.33. This difference marks the reversal in the trend of increasing stability of the +4 oxidation state going down the carbon group; tin, by comparison, has values of 1.80 in the +2 oxidation state and 1.96 in the +4 state.[56]


Lead(II) compounds are characteristic of the inorganic chemistry of lead. Even strong oxidizing agents like fluorine and chlorine react with lead to give only PbF2 and PbCl2.[49] Lead(II) ions are usually colorless in solution,[57] and partially hydrolyze to form Pb(OH)+ and finally [Pb4(OH)4]4+ (in which the hydroxyl ions act as bridging ligands),[58][59] but are not reducing agents as tin(II) ions are. Techniques for identifying the presence of the Pb2+ ion in water generally rely on the precipitation of lead(II) chloride using dilute hydrochloric acid. As the chloride salt is sparingly soluble in water, in very dilute solutions the precipitation of lead(II) sulfide is achieved by bubbling hydrogen sulfide through the solution.[60]

Lead monoxide exists in two polymorphs, litharge α-PbO (red) and massicot β-PbO (yellow), the latter being stable only above around 488 °C. Litharge is the most commonly used inorganic compound of lead.[61] There is no lead(II) hydroxide; increasing the pH of solutions of lead(II) salts leads to hydrolysis and condensation.[62] Lead commonly reacts with heavier chalcogens. Lead sulfide is a semiconductor, a photoconductor, and an extremely sensitive infrared radiation detector. The other two chalcogenides, lead selenide and lead telluride, are likewise photoconducting. They are unusual in that their color becomes lighter going down the group.[63]

     Lead and      oxygen in a tetragonal unit cell of lead(II,IV) oxide

Lead dihalides are well-characterized; this includes the diastatide,[64] and mixed halides, such as PbFCl. The relative insolubility of the latter forms a useful basis for the gravimetric determination of fluorine. The difluoride was the first solid ionically conducting compound to be discovered (in 1834, by Michael Faraday).[65] The other dihalides decompose on exposure to ultraviolet or visible light, especially the diiodide.[66] Many lead(II) pseudohalides are known, such as the cyanide, cyanate, and thiocyanate.[63][67] Lead(II) forms an extensive variety of halide coordination complexes, such as [PbCl4]2−, [PbCl6]4−, and the [Pb2Cl9]n5n chain anion.[66]

Lead(II) sulfate is insoluble in water, like the sulfates of other heavy divalent cations. Lead(II) nitrate and lead(II) acetate are very soluble, and this is exploited in the synthesis of other lead compounds.[68]


Few inorganic lead(IV) compounds are known. They are only formed in highly oxidizing solutions and do not normally exist under standard conditions.[69] Lead(II) oxide gives a mixed oxide on further oxidation, Pb3O4. It is described as lead(II,IV) oxide, or structurally 2PbO·PbO2, and is the best-known mixed valence lead compound. Lead dioxide is a strong oxidizing agent, capable of oxidizing hydrochloric acid to chlorine gas.[70] This is because the expected PbCl4 that would be produced is unstable and spontaneously decomposes to PbCl2 and Cl2.[71] Analogously to lead monoxide, lead dioxide is capable of forming plumbate anions. Lead disulfide[72] and lead diselenide[73] are only stable at high pressures. Lead tetrafluoride, a yellow crystalline powder, is stable, but less so than the difluoride. Lead tetrachloride (a yellow oil) decomposes at room temperature, lead tetrabromide is less stable still, and the existence of lead tetraiodide is questionable.[74]

The capped square antiprismatic anion [Pb9]4− from [K(18-crown-6)]2K2Pb9·(en)1.5[75]

Other oxidation states

Some lead compounds exist in formal oxidation states other than +4 or +2. Lead(III) may be obtained, as an intermediate between lead(II) and lead(IV), in larger organolead complexes; this oxidation state is not stable, as both the lead(III) ion and the larger complexes containing it are radicals.[76][77][78] The same applies for lead(I), which can be found in such radical species.[79]

Numerous mixed lead(II,IV) oxides are known. When PbO2 is heated in air, it becomes Pb12O19 at 293 °C, Pb12O17 at 351 °C, Pb3O4 at 374 °C, and finally PbO at 605 °C. A further sesquioxide, Pb2O3, can be obtained at high pressure, along with several non-stoichiometric phases. Many of them show defective fluorite structures in which some oxygen atoms are replaced by vacancies: PbO can be considered as having such a structure, with every alternate layer of oxygen atoms absent.[80]

Negative oxidation states can occur as Zintl phases, as either free lead anions, as in Ba2Pb, with lead formally being lead(−IV),[81] or in oxygen-sensitive ring-shaped or polyhedral cluster ions such as the trigonal bipyramidal Pb52− ion, where two lead atoms are lead(−I) and three are lead(0).[82] In such anions, each atom is at a polyhedral vertex and contributes two electrons to each covalent bond along an edge from their sp3 hybrid orbitals, the other two being an external lone pair.[58] They may be made in liquid ammonia via the reduction of lead by sodium.[83]

Structure of a tetraethyllead molecule:


Lead can form multiply-bonded chains, a property it shares with its lighter homologs in the carbon group. Its capacity to do so is much less because the Pb–Pb bond energy is over three and a half times lower than that of the C–C bond.[52] With itself, lead can build metal–metal bonds of an order up to three.[84] With carbon, lead forms organolead compounds similar to, but generally less stable than, typical organic compounds[85] (due to the Pb–C bond being rather weak).[58] This makes the organometallic chemistry of lead far less wide-ranging than that of tin.[86] Lead predominantly forms organolead(IV) compounds, even when starting with inorganic lead(II) reactants; very few organolead(II) compounds are known. The most well-characterized exceptions are Pb[CH(SiMe3)2]2 and Pb(η5-C5H5)2.[86]

The lead analog of the simplest organic compound, methane, is plumbane. Plumbane may be obtained in a reaction between metallic lead and atomic hydrogen.[87] Two simple derivatives, tetramethyllead and tetraethyllead, are the best-known organolead compounds. These compounds are relatively stable: tetraethyllead only starts to decompose if heated[88] or if exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light.[89] (Tetraphenyllead is even more thermally stable, decomposing at 270 °C.[86]) With sodium metal, lead readily forms an equimolar alloy that reacts with alkyl halides to form organometallic compounds such as tetraethyllead.[90] The oxidizing nature of many organolead compounds is usefully exploited: lead tetraacetate is an important laboratory reagent for oxidation in organic synthesis,[91] and tetraethyllead was once produced in larger quantities than any other organometallic compound.[86] Other organolead compounds are less chemically stable.[85] For many organic compounds, a lead analog does not exist.[87]

Origin and occurrence

Solar System abundances[92]
Element Relative
42 Molybdenum 0.798
46 Palladium 0.440
50 Tin 1.146
78 Platinum 0.417
80 Mercury 0.127
82 Lead 1
90 Thorium 0.011
92 Uranium 0.003

In space

Lead's per-particle abundance in the Solar System is 0.121 ppb (parts per billion).[92][k] This figure is two and a half times higher than that of platinum, eight times more than mercury, and seventeen times more than gold.[92] The amount of lead in the universe is slowly increasing[93] as most heavier atoms (all of which are unstable) gradually decay to lead.[94] The abundance of lead in the Solar System since its formation 4.5 billion years ago has increased by about 0.75%.[95] The solar system abundances table shows that lead, despite its relatively high atomic number, is more prevalent than most other elements with atomic numbers greater than 40.[92]

Primordial lead—which comprises the isotopes lead-204, lead-206, lead-207, and lead-208—was mostly created as a result of repetitive neutron capture processes occurring in stars. The two main modes of capture are the s- and r-processes.[96]

In the s-process (s is for "slow"), captures are separated by years or decades, allowing less stable nuclei to undergo beta decay.[97] A stable thallium-203 nucleus can capture a neutron and become thallium-204; this undergoes beta decay to give stable lead-204; on capturing another neutron, it becomes lead-205, which has a half-life of around 15 million years. Further captures result in lead-206, lead-207, and lead-208. On capturing another neutron, lead-208 becomes lead-209, which quickly decays into bismuth-209. On capturing another neutron, bismuth-209 becomes bismuth-210, and this beta decays to polonium-210, which alpha decays to lead-206. The cycle hence ends at lead-206, lead-207, lead-208, and bismuth-209.[98]

Chart of the final part of the s-process, from mercury to polonium. Red lines and circles represent neutron captures; blue arrows represent beta decays; the green arrow represents an alpha decay; cyan arrows represent electron captures.

In the r-process (r is for "rapid"), captures happen faster than nuclei can decay.[99] This occurs in environments with a high neutron density, such as a supernova or the merger of two neutron stars. The neutron flux involved may be on the order of 1022 neutrons per square centimeter per second.[100] The r-process does not form as much lead as the s-process.[101] It tends to stop once neutron-rich nuclei reach 126 neutrons.[102] At this point, the neutrons are arranged in complete shells in the atomic nucleus, and it becomes harder to energetically accommodate more of them.[103] When the neutron flux subsides, these nuclei beta decay into stable isotopes of osmium, iridium, and platinum.[104]

On Earth

Lead is classified as a chalcophile under the Goldschmidt classification, meaning it is generally found combined with sulfur.[105] It rarely occurs in its native, metallic form.[106] Many lead minerals are relatively light and, over the course of the Earth's history, have remained in the crust instead of sinking deeper into the Earth's interior. This accounts for lead's relatively high crustal abundance of 14 ppm; it is the 38th most abundant element in the crust.[107][l]

The main lead-bearing mineral is galena (PbS), which is mostly found with zinc ores.[109] Most other lead minerals are related to galena in some way; boulangerite, Pb5Sb4S11, is a mixed sulfide derived from galena; anglesite, PbSO4, is a product of galena oxidation; and cerussite or white lead ore, PbCO3, is a decomposition product of galena. Arsenic, tin, antimony, silver, gold, copper, and bismuth are common impurities in lead minerals.[109]

Elemental abundances
Lead is a fairly common element in the Earth's crust for its high atomic number (82). Most elements of atomic number greater than 40 are less abundant.

World lead resources exceed two billion tons. Significant deposits are located in Australia, China, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Russia, and the United States. Global reserves—resources that are economically feasible to extract—totaled 88 million tons in 2016, of which Australia had 35 million, China 17 million, and Russia 6.4 million.[110]

Typical background concentrations of lead do not exceed 0.1 μg/m3 in the atmosphere; 100 mg/kg in soil; and 5 μg/L in freshwater and seawater.[111]


The modern English word "lead" is of Germanic origin; it comes from the Middle English leed and Old English lēad (with the macron above the "e" signifying that the vowel sound of that letter is long).[112] The Old English word is derived from the hypothetical reconstructed Proto-Germanic *lauda- ("lead").[113] According to linguistic theory, this word bore descendants in multiple Germanic languages of exactly the same meaning.[113]

The origin of the Proto-Germanic *lauda- is not agreed in the linguistic community. One hypothesis suggests it is derived from Proto-Indo-European *lAudh- ("lead"; capitalization of the vowel is equivalent to the macron).[114] Another hypothesis suggests it is borrowed from Proto-Celtic *ɸloud-io- ("lead"). This word is related to the Latin plumbum, which gave the element its chemical symbol Pb. The word *ɸloud-io- is thought to be the origin of Proto-Germanic *bliwa- (which also means "lead"), from which stemmed the German Blei.[115]

The name of the chemical element is not related to the verb of the same spelling, which is derived from Proto-Germanic *laidijan- ("to lead").[116]


Lead production graph
World lead production peaking in the Roman period and the Industrial Revolution.[117]

Prehistory and early history

Metallic lead beads dating back to 7000–6500 BCE have been found in Asia Minor and may represent the first example of metal smelting.[118] At that time lead had few (if any) applications due to its softness and dull appearance.[118] The major reason for the spread of lead production was its association with silver, which may be obtained by burning galena (a common lead mineral).[119] The Ancient Egyptians were the first to use lead minerals in cosmetics, an application that spread to Ancient Greece and beyond;[120] the Egyptians may have used lead for sinkers in fishing nets, glazes, glasses, enamels, and for ornaments.[119] Various civilizations of the Fertile Crescent used lead as a writing material, as currency, and as a construction material.[119] Lead was used in the Ancient Chinese royal court as a stimulant,[119] as currency,[121] and as a contraceptive;[122] the Indus Valley civilization and the Mesoamericans[119] used it for making amulets; and the eastern and southern African peoples used lead in wire drawing.[123]

Classical era

Because silver was extensively used as a decorative material and an exchange medium, lead deposits came to be worked in Asia Minor since 3000 BCE; later, lead deposits were developed in the Aegean and Laurion. These three regions collectively dominated production of mined lead until c. 1200 BCE.[124] Since 2000 BCE, the Phoenicians worked deposits in the Iberian peninsula; by 1600 BCE, lead mining existed in Cyprus, Greece, and Sardinia.[125]

Sling bullets BM GR1842.7-28.550 GR1851.5-7.11
Ancient Greek lead sling bullets with a winged thunderbolt molded on one side and the inscription "ΔΕΞΑΙ" ("take that" or "catch") on the other side[126]

Rome's territorial expansion in Europe and across the Mediterranean, and its development of mining, led to it becoming the greatest producer of lead during the classical era, with an estimated annual output peaking at 80,000 tonnes. Like their predecessors, the Romans obtained lead mostly as a by-product of silver smelting.[117][127] Lead mining occurred in Central Europe, Britain, the Balkans, Greece, Anatolia, and Hispania, the latter accounting for 40% of world production.[117]

Lead tablets were commonly used as a material for letters.[128] Lead coffins, cast in flat sand forms, with interchangeable motifs to suit the faith of the deceased were used in ancient Judea.[129]

Lead was used for making water pipes in the Roman Empire; the Latin word for the metal, plumbum, is the origin of the English word "plumbing". Its ease of working and resistance to corrosion[130] ensured its widespread use in other applications including pharmaceuticals, roofing, currency, and warfare.[131][132][133] Writers of the time, such as Cato the Elder, Columella, and Pliny the Elder, recommended lead (or lead-coated) vessels for the preparation of sweeteners and preservatives added to wine and food. The lead conferred an agreeable taste due to the formation of "sugar of lead" (lead(II) acetate), whereas copper or bronze vessels could impart a bitter flavor through verdigris formation.[134]

The Roman author Vitruvius reported the health dangers of lead[136] and modern writers have suggested that lead poisoning played a major role in the decline of the Roman Empire.[137][138][m] Other researchers have criticized such claims, pointing out, for instance, that not all abdominal pain is caused by lead poisoning.[140][141] According to archaeological research, Roman lead pipes increased lead levels in tap water but such an effect was "unlikely to have been truly harmful".[142][143] When lead poisoning did occur, victims were called "saturnine", dark and cynical, after the ghoulish father of the gods, Saturn. By association, lead was considered the father of all metals.[144] Its status in Roman society was low as it was readily available[145] and cheap.[146]

Grosvenor Museums - Wasserröhren
Roman lead pipes[n]

Confusion with tin and antimony

During the classical era (and even up to the 17th century), tin was often not distinguished from lead: Romans called lead plumbum nigrum ("black lead"), and tin plumbum candidum ("bright lead"). The association of lead and tin can be seen in other languages: the word olovo in Czech translates to "lead", but in Russian, its cognate олово (olovo) means "tin".[147] To add to the confusion, lead bore a close relation to antimony: both elements commonly occur as sulfides (galena and stibnite), often together. Pliny incorrectly wrote that stibnite would give lead on heating, instead of antimony.[148] In countries such as Turkey and India, the originally Persian name surma came to refer to either antimony sulfide or lead sulfide,[149] and in some languages, such as Russian, gave its name to antimony (сурьма).[150]

Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Lead mining in Western Europe declined after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, with Arabian Iberia being the only region having a significant output.[151][152] The largest production of lead occurred in South and East Asia, especially China and India, where lead mining grew rapidly.[152]

Nicholas Hilliard (called) - Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I - Google Art Project
Elizabeth I of England was commonly depicted with a whitened face. Lead in face whiteners is thought to have contributed to her death.[153]

In Europe, lead production began to increase in the 11th and 12th centuries, when it was again used for roofing and piping. Starting in the 13th century, lead was used to create stained glass.[154] In the European and Arabian traditions of alchemy, lead (symbol Saturn symbol.svg in the European tradition)[155] was considered an impure base metal which, by the separation, purification and balancing of its constituent essences, could be transformed to pure and incorruptible gold.[156] During the period, lead was used increasingly for adulterating wine. The use of such wine was forbidden for use in Christian rites by a papal bull in 1498, but it continued to be imbibed and resulted in mass poisonings up to the late 18th century.[151][157] Lead was a key material in parts of the printing press, which was invented around 1440; lead dust was commonly inhaled by print workers, causing lead poisoning.[158] Firearms were invented at around the same time, and lead, despite being more expensive than iron, became the chief material for making bullets. It was less damaging to iron gun barrels, had a higher density (which allowed for better retention of velocity), and its lower melting point made the production of bullets easier as they could be made using a wood fire.[159] Lead, in the form of Venetian ceruse, was extensively used in cosmetics by Western European aristocracy as whitened faces were regarded as a sign of modesty.[160][161] This practice later expanded to white wigs and eyeliners, and only faded out with the French Revolution in the late 18th century. A similar fashion appeared in Japan in the 18th century with the emergence of the geishas, a practice that continued long into the 20th century. The white faces of women "came to represent their feminine virtue as Japanese women",[162] with lead commonly used in the whitener.[163]

Outside Europe and Asia

In the New World, lead production was recorded soon after the arrival of European settlers. The earliest record dates to 1621 in the English Colony of Virginia, fourteen years after its foundation.[164] In Australia, the first mine opened by colonists on the continent was a lead mine, in 1841.[165] In Africa, lead mining and smelting were known in the Benue Trough[166] and the lower Congo Basin, where lead was used for trade with Europeans, and as a currency by the 17th century,[167] well before the scramble for Africa.

Lead mining Barber 1865p321cropped
Lead mining in the upper Mississippi River region in the United States in 1865

Industrial Revolution

In the second half of the 18th century, Britain, and later continental Europe and the United States, experienced the Industrial Revolution. This was the first time during which lead production rates exceeded those of Rome.[117] Britain was the leading producer, losing this status by the mid-19th century with the depletion of its mines and the development of lead mining in Germany, Spain, and the United States.[168] By 1900, the United States was the leader in global lead production, and other non-European nations—Canada, Mexico, and Australia—had begun significant production; production outside Europe exceeded that within.[169] A great share of the demand for lead came from plumbing and painting—lead paints were in regular use.[170] At this time, more (working class) people were exposed to the metal and lead poisoning cases escalated. This led to research into the effects of lead intake. Lead was proven to be more dangerous in its fume form than as a solid metal. Lead poisoning and gout were linked; British physician Alfred Baring Garrod noted a third of his gout patients were plumbers and painters. The effects of chronic ingestion of lead, including mental disorders, were also studied in the 19th century. The first laws aimed at decreasing lead poisoning in factories were enacted during the 1870s and 1880s in the United Kingdom.[170]

Dutch boy collier white lead
Promotional poster for Dutch Boy lead paint, United States, 1912

Modern era

Further evidence of the threat that lead posed to humans was discovered in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mechanisms of harm were better understood, lead blindness was documented, and the element was phased out of public use in the United States and Europe. The United Kingdom introduced mandatory factory inspections in 1878 and appointed the first Medical Inspector of Factories in 1898; as a result, a 25-fold decrease in lead poisoning incidents from 1900 to 1944 was reported.[171] Most European countries banned lead paint—commonly used because of its opacity and water resistance[172]—for interiors by 1930.[173]

The last major human exposure to lead was the addition of tetraethyllead to gasoline as an antiknock agent, a practice that originated in the United States in 1921. It was phased out in the United States and the European Union by 2000.[170]

In the 1970s, the United States and Western European countries introduced legislation to reduce lead air pollution.[174][175] The impact was significant: while a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States in 1976–1980 showed that 77.8% of the population had elevated blood lead levels, in 1991–1994, a study by the same institute showed the share of people with such high levels dropped to 2.2%.[176] The main product made of lead by the end of the 20th century was the lead–acid battery,[177] which posed no direct threat to humans.

From 1960 to 1990, lead output in the Western Bloc grew by about 31%.[178] The share of the world's lead production by the Eastern Bloc increased from 10% to 30%, from 1950 to 1990, with the Soviet Union being the world's largest producer during the mid-1970s and the 1980s, and China starting major lead production in the late 20th century.[179] Unlike the European communist countries, China was largely unindustrialized by the mid-20th century; in 2004, China surpassed Australia as the largest producer of lead.[180] As was the case during European industrialization, lead has had a negative effect on health in China.[181]


Evolution production plomb.svg&lang=en
Primary production of lead since 1840

As of 2014, production of lead is increasing worldwide due to its use in lead–acid batteries.[182] There are two major categories of production: primary from mined ores, and secondary from scrap. In 2014, 4.58 million metric tons came from primary production and 5.64 million from secondary production. The top three producers of mined lead concentrate in that year were China, Australia, and the United States.[110] The top three producers of refined lead were China, the United States, and India.[183] According to the International Resource Panel's Metal Stocks in Society report of 2010, the total amount of lead in use, stockpiled, discarded, or dissipated into the environment, on a global basis, is 8 kg per capita. Much of this is in more developed countries (20–150 kg per capita) rather than less developed ones (1–4 kg per capita).[184]

The primary and secondary lead production processes are similar. Some primary production plants now supplement their operations with scrap lead, and this trend is likely to increase in the future. Given adequate techniques, lead obtained via secondary processes is indistinguishable from lead obtained via primary processes. Scrap lead from the building trade is usually fairly clean and is re-melted without the need for smelting, though refining is sometimes needed. Secondary lead production is therefore cheaper, in terms of energy requirements, than is primary production, often by 50% or more.[185]


Most lead ores contain a low percentage of lead (rich ores have a typical content of 3–8%) which must be concentrated for extraction.[186] During initial processing, ores typically undergo crushing, dense-medium separation, grinding, froth flotation, and drying. The resulting concentrate, which has a lead content of 30–80% by mass (regularly 50–60%),[186] is then turned into (impure) lead metal.

There are two main ways of doing this: a two-stage process involving roasting followed by blast furnace extraction, carried out in separate vessels; or a direct process in which the extraction of the concentrate occurs in a single vessel. The latter has become the most common route, though the former is still significant.[187]

Two-stage process

First, the sulfide concentrate is roasted in air to oxidize the lead sulfide:[188]

2 PbS(s) + 3 O2(g) → 2 PbO(s) + 2 SO2(g)↑

As the original concentrate was not pure lead sulfide, roasting yields not only the desired lead(II) oxide, but a mixture of oxides, sulfates, and silicates of lead and of the other metals contained in the ore.[189] This impure lead oxide is reduced in a coke-fired blast furnace to the (again, impure) metal:[190]

2 PbO(s) + C(s) → 2 Pb(s) + CO2(g)↑

Impurities are mostly arsenic, antimony, bismuth, zinc, copper, silver, and gold. Typically they are removed in a series of pyrometallurgical processes. The melt is treated in a reverberatory furnace with air, steam, and sulfur, which oxidizes the impurities except for silver, gold, and bismuth. Oxidized contaminants float to the top of the melt and are skimmed off.[191][192] Metallic silver and gold are removed and recovered economically by means of the Parkes process, in which zinc is added to lead. Zinc, which is immiscible in lead, dissolves the silver and gold. The zinc solution can be separated from the lead, and the silver and gold retrieved.[193][192] De-silvered lead is freed of bismuth by the Betterton–Kroll process, treating it with metallic calcium and magnesium. The resulting bismuth dross can be skimmed off.[192]

Alternatively to the pyrometallurgical processes, very pure lead can be obtained by processing smelted lead electrolytically using the Betts process. Anodes of impure lead and cathodes of pure lead are placed in an electrolyte of lead fluorosilicate (PbSiF6). Once electrical potential is applied, impure lead at the anode dissolves and plates onto the cathode, leaving the majority of the impurities in solution.[192][194] This is a high-cost process and thus mostly reserved for refining bullion containing high percentages of impurities.[195]

Direct process

In this process, lead bullion and slag is obtained directly from lead concentrates. The lead sulfide concentrate is melted in a furnace and oxidized, forming lead monoxide. Carbon (as coke or coal gas[o]) is added to the molten charge along with fluxing agents. The lead monoxide is thereby reduced to metallic lead, in the midst of a slag rich in lead monoxide.[187]

If the input is rich in lead, as much as 80% of the original lead can be obtained as bullion; the remaining 20% forms a slag rich in lead monoxide. For a low-grade feed, all of the lead can be oxidized to a high-lead slag.[187] Metallic lead is further obtained from the high-lead (25–40%) slags via submerged fuel combustion or injection, reduction assisted by an electric furnace, or a combination of both.[187]


Research on a cleaner, less energy-intensive lead extraction process continues; a major drawback is that either too much lead is lost as waste, or the alternatives result in a high sulfur content in the resulting lead metal. Hydrometallurgical extraction, in which anodes of impure lead are immersed into an electrolyte and pure lead is deposited onto a cathode, is a technique that may have potential, but is not currently economical except in cases where electricity is very cheap.[196]


Smelting, which is an essential part of the primary production, is often skipped during secondary production. It is only performed when metallic lead has undergone significant oxidation.[185] The process is similar to that of primary production in either a blast furnace or a rotary furnace, with the essential difference being the greater variability of yields: blast furnaces produce hard lead (10% antimony) while reverberatory and rotary kiln furnaces produced semisoft lead (3–4% antimony).[197] The Isasmelt process is a more recent smelting method that may act as an extension to primary production; battery paste from spent lead–acid batteries (containing lead sulfate and lead oxides) has its sulfate removed by treating it with alkali, and is then treated in a coal-fueled furnace in the presence of oxygen, which yields impure lead, with antimony the most common impurity.[198] Refining of secondary lead is similar to that of primary lead; some refining processes may be skipped depending on the material recycled and its potential contamination.[198]

Of the sources of lead for recycling, lead–acid batteries are the most important; lead pipe, sheet, and cable sheathing are also significant.[185]


Lead shielding
Bricks of lead (alloyed with 4% antimony) are used as radiation shielding.[199]

Contrary to popular belief, pencil leads in wooden pencils have never been made from lead. When the pencil originated as a wrapped graphite writing tool, the particular type of graphite used was named plumbago (literally, act for lead or lead mockup).[200]

Elemental form

Lead metal has several useful mechanical properties, including high density, low melting point, ductility, and relative inertness. Many metals are superior to lead in some of these aspects but are generally less common and more difficult to extract from parent ores. Lead's toxicity has led to its phasing out for some uses.[201]

Lead has been used for bullets since their invention in the Middle Ages. It is inexpensive; its low melting point means small arms ammunition and shotgun pellets can be cast with minimal technical equipment; and it is denser than other common metals, which allows for better retention of velocity. It remains the main material for bullets, alloyed with other metals as hardeners.[159] Concerns have been raised that lead bullets used for hunting can damage the environment.[p]

Lead's high density and resistance to corrosion have been exploited in a number of related applications. It is used as ballast in sailboat keels; its density allows it to take up a small volume and minimize water resistance, thus counterbalancing the heeling effect of wind on the sails.[203] It is used in scuba diving weight belts to counteract the diver's buoyancy.[204] In 1993, the base of the Leaning Tower of Pisa was stabilized with 600 tonnes of lead.[205] Because of its corrosion resistance, lead is used as a protective sheath for underwater cables.[206]

Parc de Versailles, Bassin de Flore, Jean-Baptiste Tuby (1672-79) 07
A 17th-century gold-coated lead sculpture

Lead has many uses in the construction industry; lead sheets are used as architectural metals in roofing material, cladding, flashing, gutters and gutter joints, and on roof parapets.[207][208] Detailed lead moldings are used as decorative motifs to fix lead sheet. Lead is still used in statues and sculptures,[q] including for armatures.[210] In the past it was often used to balance the wheels of cars; for environmental reasons this use is being phased out in favor of other materials.[110]

Lead is added to copper alloys, such as brass and bronze, to improve machinability and for its lubricating qualities. Being practically insoluble in copper the lead forms solid globules in imperfections throughout the alloy, such as grain boundaries. In low concentrations, as well as acting as a lubricant, the globules hinder the formation of swarf as the alloy is worked, thereby improving machinability. Copper alloys with larger concentrations of lead are used in bearings. The lead provides lubrication, and the copper provides the load-bearing support.[211]

Lead's high density, atomic number, and formability form the basis for use of lead as a barrier that absorbs sound, vibration, and radiation.[212] Lead has no natural resonance frequencies;[212] as a result, sheet-lead is used as a sound deadening layer in the walls, floors, and ceilings of sound studios.[213] Organ pipes are often made from a lead alloy, mixed with various amounts of tin to control the tone of each pipe.[214][215] Lead is an established shielding material from radiation in nuclear science and in X-ray rooms[216] due to its denseness and high attenuation coefficient.[217] Molten lead has been used as a coolant for lead-cooled fast reactors.[218]

The largest use of lead in the early 21st century is in lead–acid batteries. The lead in batteries undergoes no direct contact with humans, so there are fewer toxicity concerns.[r] People who work in battery production plants may be exposed to lead dust and inhale it.[220]} The reactions in the battery between lead, lead dioxide, and sulfuric acid provide a reliable source of voltage.[s] Supercapacitors incorporating lead–acid batteries have been installed in kilowatt and megawatt scale applications in Australia, Japan, and the United States in frequency regulation, solar smoothing and shifting, wind smoothing, and other applications.[222] These batteries have lower energy density and charge-discharge efficiency than lithium-ion batteries, but are significantly cheaper.[223]

Lead is used in high voltage power cables as sheathing material to prevent water diffusion into insulation; this use is decreasing as lead is being phased out.[224] Its use in solder for electronics is also being phased out by some countries to reduce the amount of environmentally hazardous waste.[225] Lead is one of three metals used in the Oddy test for museum materials, helping detect organic acids, aldehydes, and acidic gases.[226][227]


In addition to being the main application for lead metal, lead-acid batteries are also the main consumer of lead compounds. The energy storage/release reaction used in these devices involves lead sulfate and lead dioxide:

Pb(s) + PbO
(s) + 2H
(aq) → 2PbSO
(s) + 2H

Other applications of lead compounds are very specialized and often fading. Lead-based coloring agents are used in ceramic glazes and glass, especially for red and yellow shades.[228] While lead paints are phased out in Europe and North America, they remain in use in less developed countries such as China,[229] India,[230] or Indonesia.[231] Lead tetraacetate and lead dioxide are used as oxidizing agents in organic chemistry. Lead is frequently used in the polyvinyl chloride coating of electrical cords.[232][233] It can be used to treat candle wicks to ensure a longer, more even burn. Because of its toxicity, European and North American manufacturers use alternatives such as zinc.[234][235] Lead glass is composed of 12–28% lead oxide, changing its optical characteristics and reducing the transmission of ionizing radiation.[236] Lead-based semiconductors such as lead telluride and lead selenide are used in photovoltaic cells and infrared detectors.[237]

Biological effects

GHS pictograms The exclamation-mark pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)The health hazard pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)The environment pictogram in the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS)
GHS signal word Danger
H302, H332, H351, H360Df, H373, H410
P201, P261, P273, P304, P340, P312, P308, P313, P391[238]
NFPA 704
Flammability code 0: Will not burn. E.g., waterHealth code 1: Exposure would cause irritation but only minor residual injury. E.g., turpentineReactivity code 0: Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and is not reactive with water. E.g., liquid nitrogenSpecial hazards (white): no codeNFPA 704 four-colored diamond

Lead has no confirmed biological role, and there is no confirmed safe level of lead exposure.[239] A 2009 Canadian–American study concluded that even at levels that are considered to pose little to no risk, lead may cause "adverse mental health outcomes".[240] Its prevalence in the human body—at an adult average of 120 mg[t]—is nevertheless exceeded only by zinc (2500 mg) and iron (4000 mg) among the heavy metals.[242] Lead salts are very efficiently absorbed by the body.[243] A small amount of lead (1%) is stored in bones; the rest is excreted in urine and feces within a few weeks of exposure. Only about a third of lead is excreted by a child. Continual exposure may result in the bioaccumulation of lead.[244]


Lead is a highly poisonous metal (whether inhaled or swallowed), affecting almost every organ and system in the human body.[245] At airborne levels of 100 mg/m3, it is immediately dangerous to life and health.[246] Most ingested lead is absorbed into the bloodstream.[247] The primary cause of its toxicity is its predilection for interfering with the proper functioning of enzymes. It does so by binding to the sulfhydryl groups found on many enzymes,[248] or mimicking and displacing other metals which act as cofactors in many enzymatic reactions.[249] Among the essential metals that lead interacts with are calcium, iron, and zinc.[250] High levels of calcium and iron tend to provide some protection from lead poisoning; low levels cause increased susceptibility.[243]


Lead can cause severe damage to the brain and kidneys and, ultimately, death. By mimicking calcium, lead can cross the blood–brain barrier. It degrades the myelin sheaths of neurons, reduces their numbers, interferes with neurotransmission routes, and decreases neuronal growth.[248] In the human body, lead inhibits porphobilinogen synthase and ferrochelatase, preventing both porphobilinogen formation and the incorporation of iron into protoporphyrin IX, the final step in heme synthesis. This causes ineffective heme synthesis and microcytic anemia.[251]

Symptoms of lead poisoning (raster)
Symptoms of lead poisoning

Symptoms of lead poisoning include nephropathy, colic-like abdominal pains, and possibly weakness in the fingers, wrists, or ankles. Small blood pressure increases, particularly in middle-aged and older people, may be apparent and can cause anemia. Several studies, mostly cross-sectional, found an association between increased lead exposure and decreased heart rate variability.[252] In pregnant women, high levels of exposure to lead may cause miscarriage. Chronic, high-level exposure has been shown to reduce fertility in males.[253]

In a child's developing brain, lead interferes with synapse formation in the cerebral cortex, neurochemical development (including that of neurotransmitters), and the organization of ion channels.[254] Early childhood exposure has been linked with an increased risk of sleep disturbances and excessive daytime drowsiness in later childhood.[255] High blood levels are associated with delayed puberty in girls.[256] The rise and fall in exposure to airborne lead from the combustion of tetraethyl lead in gasoline during the 20th century has been linked with historical increases and decreases in crime levels, a hypothesis which is not universally accepted.[257]

Exposure sources

Lead exposure is a global issue since lead mining and smelting, and battery manufacturing/disposal/recycling, are common in many countries. Lead enters the body via inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Almost all inhaled lead is absorbed into the body; for ingestion, the rate is 20–70%, with children absorbing a higher percentage than adults.[258]

Poisoning typically results from ingestion of food or water contaminated with lead, and less commonly after accidental ingestion of contaminated soil, dust, or lead-based paint.[259] Seawater products can contain lead if affected by nearby industrial waters.[260] Fruit and vegetables can be contaminated by high levels of lead in the soils they were grown in. Soil can be contaminated through particulate accumulation from lead in pipes, lead paint, and residual emissions from leaded gasoline.[261]

The use of lead for water pipes is problematic in areas with soft or acidic water.[262] Hard water forms insoluble layers in the pipes whereas soft and acidic water dissolves the lead pipes.[263] Dissolved carbon dioxide in the carried water may result in the formation of soluble lead bicarbonate; oxygenated water may similarly dissolve lead as lead(II) hydroxide. Drinking such water, over time, can cause health problems due to the toxicity of the dissolved lead. The harder the water the more calcium bicarbonate and sulfate it will contain, and the more the inside of the pipes will be coated with a protective layer of lead carbonate or lead sulfate.[264]

Kymographic recording of the effect of lead on frog heart.
Kymographic recording of the effect of lead acetate on frog heart experimental set up.

Ingestion of applied lead-based paint is the major source of exposure for children: a direct source is chewing on old painted window sills. Alternatively, as the applied dry paint deteriorates, it peels, is pulverized into dust and then enters the body through hand-to-mouth contact or contaminated food, water, or alcohol. Ingesting certain home remedies may result in exposure to lead or its compounds.[265]

Inhalation is the second major exposure pathway, affecting smokers and especially workers in lead-related occupations.[247] Cigarette smoke contains, among other toxic substances, radioactive lead-210.[266]

Skin exposure may be significant for people working with organic lead compounds. The rate of skin absorption is lower for inorganic lead.[267]


Treatment for lead poisoning normally involves the administration of dimercaprol and succimer.[268] Acute cases may require the use of disodium calcium edetate, the calcium chelate, and the disodium salt of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). It has a greater affinity for lead than calcium, with the result that lead chelate is formed by exchange and excreted in the urine, leaving behind harmless calcium.[269]

Environmental effects

Batteries at Thiaroye
Battery collection site in Dakar, Senegal, where at least 18 children died of lead poisoning in 2008

The extraction, production, use, and disposal of lead and its products have caused significant contamination of the Earth's soils and waters. Atmospheric emissions of lead were at their peak during the Industrial Revolution, and the leaded gasoline period in the second half of the twentieth century. Lead releases originate from natural sources (i.e., concentration of the naturally occurring lead), industrial production, incineration and recycling, and mobilization of previously buried lead.[270] Elevated concentrations of lead persist in soils and sediments in post-industrial and urban areas; industrial emissions, including those arising from coal burning,[271] continue in many parts of the world, particularly in the developing countries.[272]

Lead can accumulate in soils, especially those with a high organic content, where it remains for hundreds to thousands of years. Environmental lead can compete with other metals found in and on plants surfaces potentially inhibiting photosynthesis and at high enough concentrations, negatively affecting plant growth and survival. Contamination of soils and plants can allow lead to ascend the food chain affecting microorganisms and animals. In animals, lead exhibits toxicity in many organs, damaging the nervous, renal, reproductive, hematopoietic, and cardiovascular systems after ingestion, inhalation, or skin absorption.[273] Fish uptake lead from both water and sediment;[274] bioaccumulation in the food chain poses a hazard to fish, birds, and sea mammals.[275]

Anthropogenic lead includes lead from shot and sinkers. These are among the most potent sources of lead contamination along with lead production sites.[276] Lead was banned for shot and sinkers in the United States in 2017,[277] although that ban was only effective for a month,[278] and a similar ban is being considered in the European Union.[279]

Analytical methods for the determination of lead in the environment include spectrophotometry, X-ray fluorescence, atomic spectroscopy and electrochemical methods. A specific ion-selective electrode has been developed based on the ionophore S,S'-methylenebis(N,N-diisobutyldithiocarbamate).[280] An important biomarker assay for lead poisoning is δ-aminolevulinic acid levels in plasma, serum, and urine.[281]

Restriction and remediation

1plombs chasse cygne condé2
Radiography of a swan found dead in Condé-sur-l'Escaut (northern France), highlighting lead shot. There are hundreds of lead pellets; a dozen is enough to kill an adult swan within a few days. Such bodies are sources of environmental contamination by lead.

By the mid-1980s, there was significant decline in the use of lead in industry. In the United States, environmental regulations reduced or eliminated the use of lead in non-battery products, including gasoline, paints, solders, and water systems. Particulate control devices were installed in coal-fired power plants to capture lead emissions.[271] In 1992, U.S. Congress required the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce the blood lead levels of the country's children.[282] Lead use was further curtailed by the European Union's 2003 Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive.[283] A large drop in lead deposition occurred in the Netherlands after the 1993 national ban on use of lead shot for hunting and sport shooting: from 230 tonnes in 1990 to 47.5 tonnes in 1995.[284]

In the United States, the permissible exposure limit for lead in the workplace, comprising metallic lead, inorganic lead compounds, and lead soaps, was set at 50 μg/m3 over an 8-hour workday, and the blood lead level limit at 5 μg per 100 g of blood in 2012.[285] Lead may still be found in harmful quantities in stoneware,[286] vinyl[287] (such as that used for tubing and the insulation of electrical cords), and Chinese brass.[u] Old houses may still contain lead paint.[287] White lead paint has been withdrawn from sale in industrialized countries, but specialized uses of other pigments such as yellow lead chromate remain.[172] Stripping old paint by sanding produces dust which can be inhaled.[289] Lead abatement programs have been mandated by some authorities in properties where young children live.[290]

Lead waste, depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the waste, may be treated as household waste (in order to facilitate lead abatement activities),[291] or potentially hazardous waste requiring specialized treatment or storage.[292] Lead is released to the wildlife in shooting places and a number of lead management practices, such as stewardship of the environment and reduced public scrutiny, have been developed to counter the lead contamination.[293] Lead migration can be enhanced in acidic soils; to counter that, it is advised soils be treated with lime to neutralize the soils and prevent leaching of lead.[294]

Research has been conducted on how to remove lead from biosystems by biological means: Fish bones are being researched for their ability to bioremediate lead in contaminated soil.[295][296] The fungus Aspergillus versicolor is effective at absorbing lead ions from industrial waste before being released to water bodies.[297] Several bacteria have been researched for their ability to remove lead from the environment, including the sulfate-reducing bacteria Desulfovibrio and Desulfotomaculum, both of which are highly effective in aqueous solutions.[298]

See also


  1. ^ About 10% of the lanthanide contraction has been attributed to relativistic effects.[4]
  2. ^ The tetrahedral allotrope of tin is called α- or gray tin and is stable only at or below 13.2 °C (55.8 °F). The stable form of tin above this temperature is called β- or white tin and has a distorted face centered cubic (tetragonal) structure which can be derived by compressing the tetrahedra of gray tin along their cubic axes. White tin effectively has a structure intermediate between the regular tetrahedral structure of gray tin, and the regular face centered cubic structure of lead, consistent with the general trend of increasing metallic character going down any representative group.[10]
  3. ^ A quasicrystalline thin-film allotrope of lead, with pentagonal symmetry, was reported in 2013. The allotrope was obtained by depositing lead atoms on the surface of an icosahedral silver-indium-ytterbium quasicrystal. Its conductivity was not recorded.[11][12]
  4. ^ Diamond cubic structures with lattice parameters around the lattice parameter of silicon exists both in thin lead and tin films, and in massive lead and tin, freshly solidified in vacuum of ~5 x 10−6 Torr. Experimental evidence for almost identical structures of at least three oxide types is presented, demonstrating that lead and tin behave like silicon not only in the initial stages of crystallization, but also in the initial stages of oxidation.[13]
  5. ^ British English: to go down like a lead balloon.
  6. ^ Malleability describes how easily it deforms under compression, whereas ductility means its ability to stretch.
  7. ^ A (wet) finger can be dipped into molten lead without risk of a burning injury.[26]
  8. ^ An even number of either protons or neutrons generally increases the nuclear stability of isotopes, compared to isotopes with odd numbers. No elements with odd atomic numbers have more than two stable isotopes; even-numbered elements have multiple stable isotopes, with tin (element 50) having the highest number of isotopes of all elements, ten.[30] See Even and odd atomic nuclei for more details.
  9. ^ The half-life found in the experiment was 1.9×1019 years.[33] A kilogram of natural bismuth would have an activity value of approximately 0.003 becquerels (decays per second). For comparison, the activity value of natural radiation in the human body is around 65 becquerels per kilogram of body weight (4500 becquerels on average).[34]
  10. ^ Lead-205 decays solely via electron capture, which means when there are no electrons available and lead is fully ionized with all 82 electrons removed it cannot decay. Fully ionized thallium-205, the isotope lead-205 would decay to, becomes unstable and can decay into a bound state of lead-205.[45]
  11. ^ Abundances in the source are listed relative to silicon rather than in per-particle notation. The sum of all elements per 106 parts of silicon is 2.6682×1010 parts; lead comprises 3.258 parts.
  12. ^ Elemental abundance figures are estimates and their details may vary from source to source.[108]
  13. ^ The fact that Julius Caesar fathered only one child, as well as the alleged sterility of his successor, Caesar Augustus, have been attributed to lead poisoning.[139]
  14. ^ The inscription reads: "Made when the Emperor Vespasian was consul for the ninth term and the Emperor Titus was consul for the seventh term, when Gnaeus Iulius Agricola was imperial governor (of Britain)."
  15. ^ Gaseous by-product of the coking process, containing carbon monoxide, hydrogen and methane; used as a fuel.
  16. ^ California began banning lead bullets for hunting on that basis in July 2015.[202]
  17. ^ For example, a firm "...producing quality [lead] garden ornament from our studio in West London for over a century".[209]
  18. ^ Potential injuries to regular users of such batteries are not related to lead's toxicity.[219]
  19. ^ See[221] for details on how a lead–acid battery works.
  20. ^ Rates vary greatly by country.[241]
  21. ^ An alloy of brass (copper and zinc) with lead, iron, tin, and sometimes antimony.[288]


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Further reading

External links


Bismuth is a chemical element with symbol Bi and atomic number 83. It is a pentavalent post-transition metal and one of the pnictogens with chemical properties resembling its lighter homologs arsenic and antimony. Elemental bismuth may occur naturally, although its sulfide and oxide form important commercial ores. The free element is 86% as dense as lead. It is a brittle metal with a silvery white color when freshly produced, but surface oxidation can give it a pink tinge. Bismuth is the most naturally diamagnetic element, and has one of the lowest values of thermal conductivity among metals.

Bismuth was long considered the element with the highest atomic mass that is stable, but in 2003 it was discovered to be extremely weakly radioactive: its only primordial isotope, bismuth-209, decays via alpha decay with a half-life more than a billion times the estimated age of the universe. Because of its tremendously long half-life, bismuth may still be considered stable for almost all purposes.Bismuth metal has been known since ancient times, although it was often confused with lead and tin, which share some physical properties. The etymology is uncertain, but possibly comes from Arabic bi ismid, meaning having the properties of antimony or the German words weiße Masse or Wismuth ("white mass"), translated in the mid-sixteenth century to New Latin bisemutum.Bismuth compounds account for about half the production of bismuth. They are used in cosmetics, pigments, and a few pharmaceuticals, notably bismuth subsalicylate, used to treat diarrhea. Bismuth's unusual propensity to expand as it solidifies is responsible for some of its uses, such as in casting of printing type. Bismuth has unusually low toxicity for a heavy metal. As the toxicity of lead has become more apparent in recent years, there is an increasing use of bismuth alloys (presently about a third of bismuth production) as a replacement for lead.

Claire Danes

Claire Catherine Danes (born April 12, 1979) is an American actress. She is the recipient of three Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. In 2012, Time named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and she was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.Danes gained early recognition as Angela Chase in the acclaimed 1994 teen drama series My So-Called Life. The role won her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She made her film debut the same year in Little Women (1994). Her other films include Home for the Holidays (1995), Romeo + Juliet (1996), The Rainmaker (1997), Les Misérables (1998), Brokedown Palace (1999), the 1999 English dub of Princess Mononoke (1997), Igby Goes Down (2002), The Hours (2002), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Shopgirl (2005), Stardust (2007), Brigsby Bear (2017), and A Kid Like Jake (2018).

From 1998 to 2000, Danes attended Yale University before dropping out to return to acting. She appeared in an Off-Broadway production of The Vagina Monologues in 2000, and made her Broadway debut playing Eliza Doolittle in the 2007 revival of Pygmalion. In 2010, she portrayed Temple Grandin in the highly acclaimed HBO TV film Temple Grandin, which won her a second Golden Globe and her first Primetime Emmy Award for the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Since 2011, she has starred as Carrie Mathison in the Showtime drama series Homeland, for which she has won two Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, two Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, and the Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama.

Eddie Murphy

Edward Regan Murphy (born April 3, 1961) is an American comedian, actor, screen writer, singer, and film producer. Murphy was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984. He has worked as a stand-up comedian and was ranked #10 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.In films, Murphy has received Golden Globe Award nominations for his performances in 48 Hrs., the Beverly Hills Cop series, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor. In 2007, he won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of soul singer James "Thunder" Early in Dreamgirls.Murphy's work as a voice actor in films includes Thurgood Stubbs in The PJs, Donkey in DreamWorks Animation's Shrek series, and the Chinese dragon Mushu in Disney's Mulan. In some films, he plays multiple roles in addition to his main character, intended as a tribute to one of his idols Peter Sellers, who played multiple roles in Dr. Strangelove and elsewhere. He has played multiple roles in Coming to America, Wes Craven's Vampire in Brooklyn, the Nutty Professor films (where he played the title role in two incarnations, plus his character's father, brother, mother, and grandmother), Bowfinger, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Norbit, and Meet Dave. As of 2014, Murphy's films have grossed over $3.8 billion in the United States and Canada box office and $6.6 billion worldwide. In 2015, his films made him the sixth-highest grossing actor in the United States.In 2015, Murphy was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.


Electrocardiography is the process of producing an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), a recording - a graph of voltage versus time - of the electrical activity of the heart using electrodes placed on the skin. These electrodes detect the small electrical changes that are a consequence of cardiac muscle depolarization followed by repolarization during each cardiac cycle (heartbeat). Changes in the normal ECG pattern occur in numerous cardiac abnormalities, including cardiac rhythm disturbances (such as atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia)), inadequate coronary artery blood flow (such as myocardial ischemia and myocardial infarction), and electrolyte disturbances (such as hypokalemia and hyperkalemia).

In a conventional 12-lead ECG, ten electrodes are placed on the patient's limbs and on the surface of the chest. The overall magnitude of the heart's electrical potential is then measured from twelve different angles ("leads") and is recorded over a period of time (usually ten seconds). In this way, the overall magnitude and direction of the heart's electrical depolarization is captured at each moment throughout the cardiac cycle.There are three main components to an ECG: the P wave, which represents the depolarization of the atria; the QRS complex, which represents the depolarization of the ventricles; and the T wave, which represents the repolarization of the ventricles. It can also be further broken down into the following:

O is the origin or datum point preceding the cycle

P is the atrial systole contraction pulse

Q is a downward deflection immediately preceding the ventricular contraction

R is the peak of the ventricular contraction

S is the downward deflection immediately after the ventricular contraction

T is the recovery of the ventricles

U is the successor of the T wave but it is small and not always observedDuring each heartbeat, a healthy heart has an orderly progression of depolarization that starts with pacemaker cells in the sinoatrial node, spreads throughout the atrium, passes through the atrioventricular node down into the bundle of His and into the Purkinje fibers, spreading down and to the left throughout the ventricles. This orderly pattern of depolarization gives rise to the characteristic ECG tracing. To the trained clinician, an ECG conveys a large amount of information about the structure of the heart and the function of its electrical conduction system. Among other things, an ECG can be used to measure the rate and rhythm of heartbeats, the size and position of the heart chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart's muscle cells or conduction system, the effects of heart drugs, and the function of implanted pacemakers.


Gasoline, gas (American English) or petrol (British English) is a colorless petroleum-derived flammable liquid that is used primarily as a fuel in spark-ignited internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. On average, a 42-U.S.-gallon (160-liter) barrel of crude oil yields about 19 U.S. gallons (72 liters) of gasoline after processing in an oil refinery, though this varies based on the crude oil assay.

The characteristic of a particular gasoline blend to resist igniting too early (which causes knocking and reduces efficiency in reciprocating engines) is measured by its octane rating. Gasoline is produced in several grades of octane rating. Tetraethyl lead and other lead compounds are no longer used in most areas to increase octane rating (still used in aviation and auto-racing). Other chemicals are frequently added to gasoline to improve chemical stability and performance characteristics, control corrosiveness and provide fuel system cleaning. Gasoline may contain oxygen-containing chemicals such as ethanol, MTBE or ETBE to improve combustion.

Gasoline used in internal combustion engines can have significant effects on the local environment, and is also a contributor to global human carbon dioxide emissions. Gasoline can also enter the environment uncombusted, both as liquid and as vapor, from leakage and handling during production, transport and delivery (e.g., from storage tanks, from spills, etc.). As an example of efforts to control such leakage, many underground storage tanks are required to have extensive measures in place to detect and prevent such leaks. Gasoline contains benzene and other known carcinogens.

Hilary Swank

Hilary Ann Swank (born July 30, 1974) is an American actress and producer. She has received two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Critics Choice Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Swank made her film debut with a minor role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) before receiving her breakthrough role in the fourth installment of The Karate Kid franchise, The Next Karate Kid (1994). On television, she starred as Carly Reynolds on the eighth season of the Fox teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 from 1997 to 1998. Swank was the subject of widespread critical acclaim for her performance as Brandon Teena, a transgender man, in the biographical film Boys Don't Cry (1999), for which she received the Academy Award for Best Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. For her portrayal of Maggie Fitzgerald in Clint Eastwood's sports drama film Million Dollar Baby (2004), Swank again received the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.

Swank has also starred in other films including The Gift (2000), Insomnia (2002), The Core (2003), Iron Jawed Angels (2004), Red Dust (2004), The Reaping (2007), P.S. I Love You (2007), Freedom Writers (2007), Amelia (2009), The Homesman (2014), You're Not You (2014) and Logan Lucky (2017). In 2018, she portrayed Abigail Harris Getty on the FX television series Trust.

Journey (band)

Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. The band has gone through several phases; its strongest commercial success occurred between 1978 and 1987 when Steve Perry was lead vocalist. During that period, the band released a series of hit songs, including "Don't Stop Believin'" (1981), which in 2009 became the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century. Its parent studio album, Escape, the band's eighth and most successful, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and yielded another of their most popular singles, "Open Arms". Its 1983 follow-up album, Frontiers, was almost as successful in the United States, reaching No. 2 and spawning several successful singles; it broadened the band's appeal in the United Kingdom, where it reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart. Journey enjoyed a successful reunion in the mid-1990s and later regrouped with a series of lead singers.

Sales have resulted in two gold albums, eight multi-platinum albums, and two diamond albums (including seven consecutive multi-platinum albums between 1978 and 1987). They have had eighteen Top 40 singles in the U.S. (the second most without a Billboard Hot 100 number one single behind Electric Light Orchestra with 20), six of which reached the Top 10 of the US chart and two of which reached No. 1 on other Billboard charts, and a No. 6 hit on the UK Singles Chart in "Don't Stop Believin'". In 2005, "Don't Stop Believin'" reached No. 3 on iTunes downloads. Originally a progressive rock band, Journey was described by AllMusic as having cemented a reputation as "one of America's most beloved (and sometimes hated) commercial rock/pop bands" by 1978, when they redefined their sound by embracing pop arrangements on their fourth album, Infinity.According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Journey has sold 48 million albums in the U.S., making them the 25th best-selling band. Their worldwide sales have reached over 75 million records, making them one of the world's best-selling bands of all time. A 2005 USA Today opinion poll named Journey the fifth-best U.S. rock band in history. Their songs have become arena rock staples and are still played on rock radio stations across the world. Journey ranks No. 96 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Journey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the class of 2017. Inductees included lead singer Steve Perry, guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardists Jonathan Cain and Gregg Rolie, bassist Ross Valory, and drummers Aynsley Dunbar and Steve Smith.

Keith Richards

Keith Richards (born 18 December 1943) is an English musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the co-founder, guitarist, backing and occasional lead vocalist, and co-principal songwriter of the Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone magazine called Richards the creator of "rock's greatest single body of riffs" on guitar and ranked him fourth on its list of 100 best guitarists in 2011, and the magazine lists fourteen songs that Richards wrote with the Rolling Stones' lead vocalist Mick Jagger on its "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.

Richards plays both lead and rhythm guitar parts, often in the same song, as the Stones are generally known for their guitar interplay of rhythm and lead ("weaving") between Richards and the other guitarist in the band – Brian Jones (1962–1969), Mick Taylor (1969–1975), and Ronnie Wood (1975–present). In the recording studio Richards sometimes plays all of the guitar parts, notably on the songs "Paint It Black", "Ruby Tuesday", "Sympathy for the Devil", "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", and "Gimme Shelter". He is also a vocalist, singing backing vocals on many Rolling Stones songs as well as occasional lead vocals, such as on the Rolling Stones' 1972 single "Happy", as well as with his side project, the X-Pensive Winos.

Lead poisoning

Lead poisoning is a type of metal poisoning caused by lead in the body. The brain is the most sensitive. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, irritability, memory problems, inability to have children, and tingling in the hands and feet. It causes almost 10% of intellectual disability of otherwise unknown cause and can result in behavioral problems. Some of the effects are permanent. In severe cases anemia, seizures, coma, or death may occur.Exposure to lead can occur by contaminated air, water, dust, food, or consumer products. Children are at greater risk as they are more likely to put objects in their mouth such as those that contain lead paint and absorb a greater proportion of the lead that they eat. Exposure at work is a common cause of lead poisoning in adults with certain occupations at particular risk. Diagnosis is typically by measurement of the blood lead level. The Centers for Disease Control (US) has set the upper limit for blood lead for adults at 10 µg/dl (10 µg/100 g) and for children at 5 µg/dl. Elevated lead may also be detected by changes in red blood cells or dense lines in the bones of children as seen on X-ray.Lead poisoning is preventable. This includes individual efforts such as removing lead-containing items from the home, workplace efforts such as improved ventilation and monitoring, and nationwide policies such as laws that ban lead in products such as paint and gasoline, reduce allowable levels in water or soil, and provide for cleanup of contaminated soil. The major treatments are removal of the source of lead and the use of medications that bind lead so it can be eliminated from the body, known as chelation therapy. Chelation therapy in children is recommended when blood levels are greater than 40–45 µg/dl. Medications used include dimercaprol, edetate calcium disodium, and succimer.In 2016, lead is believed to have resulted in 540,000 deaths worldwide. It occurs most commonly in the developing world. Those who are poor are at greater risk. Lead is believed to result in 0.6% of the world's disease burden. People have been mining and using lead for thousands of years. Descriptions of lead poisoning date to at least 2000 BC, while efforts to limit lead's use date back to at least the 16th century. Concerns for low levels of exposure begin in the 1970s with there being no safe threshold for lead exposure.

Lead vocalist

The lead vocalist (or main vocalist, lead vocals, or lead singer) in popular music is typically the member of a group or band whose voice is the most prominent in a performance where multiple voices may be heard. The lead singer either leads the vocal ensemble, or sets against the ensemble as the dominant sound. In vocal group performances, notably in soul and gospel music, and early rock and roll, the lead singer takes the main vocal part, with a chorus provided by other band members as backing vocalists.

Especially in rock music, the lead singer or solo singer is often the front man or front woman, who may also play one or more instruments and is often seen as the leader or spokesman of the band by the public. As an example in rock music, Freddie Mercury was the lead singer of Queen. Similarly in soul music, Smokey Robinson was the lead singer of The Miracles.

Lead–acid battery

The lead–acid battery was invented in 1859 by French physicist Gaston Planté and is the oldest type of rechargeable battery. Despite having a very low energy-to-weight ratio and a low energy-to-volume ratio, its ability to supply high surge currents means that the cells have a relatively large power-to-weight ratio. These features, along with their low cost, make them attractive for use in motor vehicles to provide the high current required by automobile starter motors.

As they are inexpensive compared to newer technologies, lead–acid batteries are widely used even when surge current is not important and other designs could provide higher energy densities. In 1999 lead–acid battery sales accounted for 40–45% of the value from batteries sold worldwide excluding China and Russia, and a manufacturing market value of about $15 billion. Large-format lead–acid designs are widely used for storage in backup power supplies in cell phone towers, high-availability settings like hospitals, and stand-alone power systems. For these roles, modified versions of the standard cell may be used to improve storage times and reduce maintenance requirements. Gel-cells and absorbed glass-mat batteries are common in these roles, collectively known as VRLA (valve-regulated lead–acid) batteries.

The electrical energy produced by a discharging lead–acid battery can be attributed to the energy released when the strong chemical bonds of water (H2O) molecules are formed from H+ ions of the acid and O2- ions of PbO2. Conversely, during charging the battery acts as a water-splitting device, and in the charged state the chemical energy of the battery is mostly stored in the acid.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. Along with Black Sabbath and Deep Purple,

the band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, and folk music.

After changing their name from the New Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin signed a deal with Atlantic Records that afforded them considerable artistic freedom. Although the group were initially unpopular with critics, they achieved significant commercial success with eight studio albums released over eleven years, from Led Zeppelin (1969) to In Through the Out Door (1979). Their untitled fourth studio album, commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV (1971) and featuring the song "Stairway to Heaven", is among the most popular and influential works in rock music, and it helped to secure the group's popularity.

Page wrote most of Led Zeppelin's music, particularly early in their career, while Plant generally supplied the lyrics. Jones' keyboard-based compositions later became central to the group's catalogue, which featured increasing experimentation. The latter half of their career saw a series of record-breaking tours that earned the group a reputation for excess and debauchery. Although they remained commercially and critically successful, their output and touring schedule were limited during the late 1970s, and the group disbanded following Bonham's death from alcohol-related asphyxia in 1980. In the decades that followed, the surviving members sporadically collaborated and participated in one-off Led Zeppelin reunions. The most successful of these was the 2007 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert in London, with Jason Bonham taking his late father's place behind the drums.

Many critics consider Led Zeppelin to be one of the most successful, innovative, and influential rock groups in history. They are one of the best-selling music artists in the history of audio recording; various sources estimate the group's record sales at 200 to 300 million units worldwide. With RIAA-certified sales of 111.5 million units, they are the third-best-selling band in the US. Each of their nine studio albums placed in the top 10 of the Billboard album chart and six reached the number-one spot. They achieved eight consecutive UK number-one albums. Rolling Stone magazine described them as "the heaviest band of all time", "the biggest band of the Seventies", and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history". They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995; the museum's biography of the band states that they were "as influential" during the 1970s as the Beatles were during the 1960s.


A pencil is an implement for writing or drawing, constructed of a narrow, solid pigment core in a protective casing that prevents the core from being broken and/or marking the user’s hand.

Pencils create marks by physical abrasion, leaving a trail of solid core material that adheres to a sheet of paper or other surface. They are distinct from pens, which dispense liquid or gel ink onto the marked surface.

Most pencil cores are made of graphite powder mixed with a clay binder. Graphite pencils (traditionally known as 'lead pencils') produce grey or black marks that are easily erased, but otherwise resistant to moisture, most chemicals, ultraviolet radiation and natural aging. Other types of pencil cores, such as those of charcoal, are mainly used for drawing and sketching. Coloured pencils are sometimes used by teachers or editors to correct submitted texts, but are typically regarded as art supplies—especially those with waxy core binders that tend to smear when erasers are applied to them. Grease pencils have a softer, crayon-like waxy core that can leave marks on smooth surfaces such as glass or porcelain.

The most common pencil casing is thin wood, usually hexagonal in section but sometimes cylindrical or triangular, permanently bonded to the core. Casings may be of other materials, such as plastic or paper. To use the pencil, the casing must be carved or peeled off to expose the working end of the core as a sharp point. Mechanical pencils have more elaborate casings which are not bonded to the core; instead, they support separate, mobile pigment cores that can be extended or retracted through the casing's tip as needed. These casings can be reloaded with new cores (usually graphite) as the previous ones are exhausted.

Rami Malek

Rami Said Malek (; Egyptian Arabic: [ˈɾɑːmi sæˈʕiːd ˈmæːlek]; Arabic: رامي سعيد مالك‎; born May 12, 1981) is an American actor. His breakthrough role was as computer hacker Elliot Alderson in the USA Network television series Mr. Robot (2015–present), for which he received several accolades, including the 2016 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. In 2018, he portrayed Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, for which he received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and British Academy Film Award for Best Actor. He is the first actor of Egyptian heritage to win the Academy Award for Best Actor.Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, to Egyptian immigrant parents, Malek studied theater at the University of Evansville in Indiana. He began his acting career with supporting roles in film and television, including the Fox sitcom The War at Home (2005–2007), the HBO miniseries The Pacific (2010), and the Night at the Museum film trilogy (2006–2014). He has done voicework for television and video games, as well as motion capture for the latter.

Roger Taylor (Queen drummer)

Roger Meddows Taylor (born 26 July 1949) is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the drummer for the rock band Queen. As a drummer, Taylor was recognised early in his career for his unique sound. He was voted by radio listeners as the eighth-greatest drummer in classic rock music history in a poll conducted by Planet Rock in 2005.As a songwriter, Taylor contributed songs to Queen's albums from the beginning, composing at least one track on every album, and often singing lead vocals on his own compositions. He wrote or co-wrote three UK number 1s ("These Are the Days of Our Lives", "Innuendo" and "Under Pressure") and contributed a further five major hits ("Radio Ga Ga", "A Kind of Magic", "Heaven for Everyone", "Breakthru", and "The Invisible Man"). He is also the main writer on the international top-ten hit "One Vision", although the track is credited to the whole band. He has collaborated with such artists as Eric Clapton, Roger Waters, Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, Phil Collins, Genesis, Jimmy Nail, Elton John, Gary Numan, Shakin' Stevens, Foo Fighters, Al Stewart, Steve Vai, Yoshiki, Cyndi Almouzni, and Bon Jovi. As a producer, he has produced albums by Virginia Wolf, Jimmy Nail and Magnum.

In addition to his drum work, Taylor sometimes played keyboards, guitars and bass on his own songs. During the 1980s, in addition to his work with Queen, he formed a parallel band known as the Cross, in which he was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist. During the early 1980s, Taylor was also a panellist on the popular UK quiz show Pop Quiz, hosted by Mike Read.

In 2014, he appeared in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern as himself. Taylor is also well known for his falsetto vocal range.

Sally Field

Sally Margaret Field (born November 6, 1946) is an American actress and director. She is the recipient of various accolades, including two Academy Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award and has been nominated for a Tony Award and two BAFTA Awards.

Field began her professional career on television, starring in eponymous roles on the short-lived sitcoms Gidget (1965–1966), The Flying Nun (1967–1970), and The Girl with Something Extra (1973–1974). In 1976, her career saw a turning point when she garnered critical acclaim of her portrayal of a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder in the television miniseries Sybil, for which she received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Although her film debut was as an extra in Moon Pilot (1962), her film career escalated during the 1970s with starring roles in successful films including Stay Hungry (1976), Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Heroes (1977), The End (1978), and Hooper (1978). Her career further expanded during the 1980s, twice receiving the Academy Award for Best Actress for Norma Rae (1979) and Places in the Heart (1984), and continued to appear in a wide range of acclaimed and successful films including Smokey and the Bandit II (1980), Absence of Malice (1981), Kiss Me Goodbye (1982), Murphy's Romance (1985), Steel Magnolias (1989), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), and Forrest Gump (1994).

In the 2000s, she returned to television with a recurring role on the NBC medical drama ER, for which she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series in 2001 and the following year made her stage debut with Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?. From 2006 to 2011, she portrayed the protagonist Nora Walker on the ABC television drama Brothers & Sisters, for which she received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2007. In 2010s, her film career saw a resurgence. She starred as Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincoln (2012), for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and portrayed Aunt May in The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) and its 2014 sequel, with the former becoming her highest grossing release. In 2015, she portrayed the titular character in Hello, My Name Is Doris, for which she was nominated for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress in a Comedy. In 2017, she returned to stage after an absence of 15 years with the revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie for which she received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.

As a director, Field is known for the television film The Christmas Tree (1996), an episode of the 1998 HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, as well as the feature film Beautiful (2000). In 2014, she was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Tommy Lee Jones

Tommy Lee Jones (born September 15, 1946) is an American actor and filmmaker. He has received four Academy Award nominations, winning Best Supporting Actor for his performance as U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard in the 1993 thriller film The Fugitive.

His other notable starring roles include Texas Ranger Woodrow F. Call in the TV miniseries Lonesome Dove, Agent K in the Men in Black film series, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in No Country for Old Men, the villain Two-Face in Batman Forever, terrorist William "Bill" Strannix in Under Siege, Texas Ranger Roland Sharp in Man of the House, rancher Pete Perkins in The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which he also directed, Colonel Chester Phillips in Captain America: The First Avenger, CIA Director Robert Dewey in Jason Bourne, and Warden Dwight McClusky in Natural Born Killers.

Jones has also portrayed real-life figures such as businessman Howard Hughes in The Amazing Howard Hughes, Radical Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln, executed murderer Gary Gilmore in The Executioner's Song, U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur in Emperor, Oliver Lynn, husband of Loretta Lynn, in Coal Miner's Daughter, and baseball great Ty Cobb in Cobb.

Early in his career, Jones first gained recognition for his contract role as Dr. Mark Toland on the soap opera One Life to Live for six years.

Van Halen

Van Halen is a Grammy Award-winning American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with "restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene", Van Halen is known for its energetic live shows and for the work of its acclaimed lead guitarist, Eddie Van Halen. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

From 1974 until 1985, Van Halen consisted of Eddie Van Halen; Eddie's brother, drummer Alex Van Halen; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony. Upon its release, the band's self-titled debut album reached No. 19 on the Billboard pop music charts. By the early 1980s, Van Halen was one of the most successful rock acts of the time. The album 1984 was a hit; its lead single, "Jump", is the band's only U.S. number one single to date and was internationally known.

In 1985, Van Halen replaced Roth with former Montrose lead vocalist Sammy Hagar. With Hagar, the group would release four U.S. number-one albums over the course of 11 years (5150 in 1986, OU812 in 1988, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge in 1991, and Balance in 1995). Hagar left the band in 1996 shortly before the release of the band's first greatest hits collection, Best Of – Volume I. Former Extreme frontman Gary Cherone replaced Hagar, remaining with the band until 1999; Van Halen then went on hiatus until reuniting with Hagar for a worldwide tour in 2003. The following year, the band released The Best of Both Worlds, its second greatest hits collection. Hagar again left Van Halen in 2005; in 2006, Roth returned as lead vocalist. Anthony was fired from the band in 2006 and was replaced on bass guitar by Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's son. In 2012, the band released the commercially and critically successful A Different Kind of Truth.

As of March 2019, Van Halen is 20th on the RIAA list of best-selling artists in the United States; the band has sold 56 million albums in the States and more than 80 million worldwide. As of 2007, Van Halen was one of only five rock bands with two studio albums that sold more than 10 million copies in the United States. Additionally, Van Halen has charted 13 number-one hits in the history of Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. VH1 ranked the band seventh on a list of the top 100 hard rock artists of all time.

William H. Macy

William Hall Macy Jr. (born March 13, 1950) is an American actor. His film career has been built on appearances in small, independent films, though he has also appeared in summer action films. Macy has described himself as "sort of a Middle American, WASPy, Lutheran kind of guy... Everyman".Macy has won two Emmy Awards and four Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Fargo. Since 2011, he has played Frank Gallagher, a main character in the Showtime adaptation of the British television series Shameless. Macy and actress Felicity Huffman have been married since 1997.

World's largest mining countries of lead, 2016[110]
Country Output
 China 2,400
 Australia 500
 United States 335
 Peru 310
 Mexico 250
 Russia 225
 India 135
 Bolivia 80
 Sweden 76
 Turkey 75
 Iran 41
 Kazakhstan 41
 Poland 40
 South Africa 40
 North Korea 35
 Ireland 33
 Macedonia 33
Other countries 170
Lead compounds

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