Lead and You

Lead and YouPeople have had a troubled relationship with lead since the dawn of human history.

It is abundant, easily mined, very malleable, corrosion resistant, and it seems to suit many of the jobs it has been put to, unfortunately if you get too much of it in your body it can literally drive you mad, blind, or deaf, or even shut down your kidneys, and cause death.

It has been used in Roman plumbing and cooking pots, in the solder on cans of food, to make toys, as a paint additive, in toothpaste tubes, in bullets and shot, and in batteries. It has been a common ingredient in glass, crystal, ceramics, pewter, radiation shields, as an alloy in type used in printing presses and, perhaps the most environmentally damaging of all, as an anti-knocking agent in petrol.

Many of these uses were thought of in the industrial age, centuries after it was known that lead was poisonous.