Skip to main content
hpa logo
Topics A-Z:
Search the site:


Key Points


  • Reacts with hot concentrated acids
  • May cause explosions on contact with hydrogen peroxide or sodium, potassium or magnesium and their salts
  • In the event of a fire involving lead, use fine water spray and normal fire kit with breathing apparatus


  • Toxicity most frequently results from ingestion or inhalation and rarely from dermal or ocular exposure
  • Harmful
  • Short-term exposure causes metallic taste, abdominal pain, sickness, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, kidney and liver damage
  • Long-term exposure causes anaemia, headaches, irritability, tiredness, muscle weakness, paralysis, kidney and liver damage and stomach upsets
  • In children, chronic exposure may lead to cognitive deficit, such as a decrease in IQ. Such effects do not exhibit a threshold
  • Lead exposure may cause miscarriages or still births or fertility problems in males
  • Lead compounds are probably carcinogenic to humans


  • Dangerous for the environment
  • Inform Environment Agency of substantial release incidents


All sections are available to download in PDF format.



Related Information

Do you use the Compendium of Chemical Hazards?


Please help us to improve the Compendium of Chemical Hazards by completing our short survey.

Take the survey

Compendium of Chemical Hazards