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- Lead is a main group
element with a symbol Pb . Lead has the atomic number 82. Lead is a soft,
malleable poor metal, also considered to be one of the heavy metals.
- Lead has a bluish white
color when freshly cut, but tarnishes to a dull grayish color when it is
exposed to air and is a shiny chrome silver when melted into a liquid.
- Lead is used in
building construction, lead-acid batteries, bullets and shot, weights, and
is part of solder, pewter, and fusible alloys. This true metal is highly
resistant to corrosion, and because of this property, it is used to
contain corrosive liquids.
- Lead has the highest
atomic number of all stable elements, although the next element, bismuth,
has a half-life so long it can be considered stable.
- Like mercury, another
heavy metal, lead is a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in soft tissues
and bone over time.
Lead salts used in pottery glazes have on occasion caused poisoning, when
acid drinks, such as fruit juices, have leached lead ions out of the
- Lead is a poisonous
metal that can damage nervous connections and cause blood and brain
disorders. Long term exposure to lead or its salts can cause nephropathy,
and colic-like abdominal pains.
- Lead is a major
constituent of the lead-acid battery used extensively in car batteries. It
is used as a coloring element in ceramic glazes, notably in the colors red
- Lead is used to form
glazing bars for stained glass or other multi-lit windows. The practice
has become less common, not for danger but for stylistic reasons.
- Lead is used as
projectiles for firearms and fishing sinkers because of its density, low
cost compared to alternative products and ease of use due to relatively
low melting point.
- Metallic lead does
occur in nature, but it is rare. Lead is usually found in ore with zinc,
silver and copper, and is extracted together with these metals. The main
lead mineral is galena , which contains 86.6% lead. Other common varieties
are cerussite and anglesite.
- Worldwide production
and consumption of lead is increasing. Total annual production is about 8
million tonnes; about half is produced from recycled scrap.
- Top lead producing
countries, as of 2008, are Australia, China, USA, Peru, Canada, Mexico,
Sweden, Morocco, South Africa and North Korea.Australia, China and the
United States account for more than half of primary production.
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