Lead: biological information
Lead has no biological role. Lead affects the gut, central nervous system and causes anaemia.
Levels in humans
- Human abundance by weight: 1700 ppb by weight
- Human abundance by atoms: 50 atoms relative to C = 1000000
How much lead is in your body? Find out here.
You can use this form to calculate how much lead your body contains. Enter your weight in either kilograms or pounds and click the "Calculate" button. You must enter a number, not text! Elements for which there are no data will always give a value of zero for the weight, no matter what you put in the weight box.
Hazards and Risks
Hazards and risks associated with lead:
Lead is toxic by ingestion and inhalation. However most ingested lead passes through the body without being absorbed. Tetraethyl lead (PbEt4) is still used in some grades of petrol (gasoline) and is responsible for a considerable portion of the lead found in the biosphere. It is being phased out in many countries on environmental grounds. Lead affects the gut, central nervous system and causes anaemia. It is a cumulative poison and a common occupational disease. Lead compounds may be carcinogenic and teratogenic.
- J.E. Huheey, E.A. Keiter, and R.L. Keiter in Inorganic Chemistry : Principles of Structure and Reactivity, 4th edition, HarperCollins, New York, USA, 1993.
- S. Budavari (Ed.) in The Merck Index, 11th ed., Merck, USA, 1989.
- N.N. Greenwood and A. Earnshaw in Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth, UK, 1997.