Metallic chemical element, chemical symbol Pb, atomic number Lead is a soft, silvery white or grayish, malleable, ductile, dense metal that conducts electricity poorly.
Its stable isotopes are all end products of radioactive decay of uranium and other heavy elements. Known since ancient times, lead is so durable and resistant to corrosion that Roman lead pipes are still usable. Lead is used in roofing, as cable coverings and in pipes, conduits and structures.
Other uses are in storage batteries, ammunition and low-melting-point alloys e. Lead is rarely found free in nature; its major ore is the sulfide galena PbS.
Because it dating pb 210 its compounds are poisons, lead-based paints and gasoline additives have been phased out in many countries.
Lead in compounds has valence 2 and 4; an oxide litharge, PbO is the most widely used. Lead compounds are added to lead crystal, glazes and ceramics and are used as pigments, drying agents for paints and varnishes, insecticides and herbicides and fireproofing agents and in matches, explosives and pyrotechnics.
Almost half of all lead is recovered from recycled scrap.
The "lead" in pencils is graphite.