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Lead

Key Points

Fire

  • 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

Health

  • 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

Environment

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

 

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Compendium of Chemical Hazards