LABORATORY CHEMICAL SAFETY SUMMARY: LEAD AND ITS INORGANIC COMPOUNDS

Formula

Pb

 

Physical Properties

Bluish-white, silvery, or gray solid

bp 1740 °C, mp 327 °C

Insoluble (metal; solubility of lead salts varies)

 

Odor

Odorless

 

Toxicity Data

LDLO oral (pigeon)

160 mg/kg

 

PEL (OSHA)

0.05 mg/m3

 

PEL (action level)

0.03 mg/m3

 

TLV-TWA (ACGIH)

0.05 mg/m3

 

(PEL and TLV apply to lead and inorganic lead compounds)

Major Hazards

Chronic toxin affecting the kidneys and central and peripheral nervous systems; reproductive and developmental toxin.

Toxicity

The acute toxicity of lead and inorganic lead compounds is moderate to low. Symptoms of exposure include decreased appetite, insomnia, headache, muscle and joint pain, colic, and constipation. Inorganic lead compounds are not significantly absorbed through the skin.

Chronic exposure to inorganic lead via inhalation or ingestion can result in damage to the peripheral and central nervous system, anemia, and chronic kidney disease. Lead can accumulate in the soft tissues and bones, with the highest accumulation in the liver and kidneys, and elimination is slow. Lead has shown developmental and reproductive toxicity in both male and female animals and humans. Lead is listed by IARC in Group 2B ("possible human carcinogen") and by NTP as "reasonably anticipated to be a carcinogen," but is not considered to be a "select carcinogen" under the criteria of the OSHA Laboratory Standard.

Flammability and Explosibility

Lead powder is combustible when exposed to heat or flame.

Reactivity and Incompatibility

Violent reactions of lead with sodium azide, zirconium, sodium acetylide, and chlorine trifluoride have been reported. Reactivity of lead compounds varies depending on structure.



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