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Record Information
Creation Date2006-08-13 22:37:09 UTC
Update Date2016-02-11 01:06:45 UTC
Secondary Accession NumbersNone
Metabolite Identification
Common NameLead
DescriptionLead is one of the oldest known and most widely studied occupational and environmental toxins. Despite intensive study, there is still vigorous debate about the toxic effects of lead, both from low level exposure in the general population owing to environmental pollution and historic use of lead in paint and plumbing and from exposure in the occupational setting. The majority of industries historically associated with high lead exposure have made dramatic advances in their control of occupational exposure. However, cases of unacceptably high exposure and even of frank lead poisoning are still seen, predominantly in the demolition and tank cleaning industries. Nevertheless, in most industries blood lead levels have declined below levels at which signs or symptoms are seen and the current focus of attention is on the subclinical effects of exposure. The significance of some of these effects for the overt health of the workers is often the subject of debate. Inevitably there is pressure to reduce lead exposure in the general population and in working environments, but any legislation must be based on a genuine scientific evaluation of the available evidence. Physiologically, it exists as an ion in the body. Inorganic lead is undoubtedly one of the oldest occupational toxins and evidence of lead poisoning can be found dating back to Roman times. As industrial lead production started at least 5000 years ago, it is likely that outbreaks of lead poisoning occurred from this time. These episodes of poisoning were not limited to lead workers. The general population could be significantly exposed owing to poorly glazed ceramic ware, the use of lead solder in the food canning industry, high levels of lead in drinking water, the use of lead compounds in paint and cosmetics and by deposition on crops and dust from industrial and motor vehicle sources. It was an important cause of morbidity and mortality during the Industrial Revolution and effective formal control of lead workers did not occur until the pioneering occupational health work of Ronald Lane in 1949. At very high blood lead levels, lead is a powerful abortifacient. At lower levels, it has been associated with miscarriages and low birth weights of infants. Predominantly to protect the developing fetus, legislation for lead workers often includes lower exposure criteria for women of reproductive capacity. Studies have shown a slowing of sensory motor reaction time in male lead workers and some disturbance of cognitive function in workers with blood lead levels >40 ig/100 ml. Peripheral motor neuropathy is seen as a result of chronic high-level lead exposure, but there is conflicting, although on the whole convincing, evidence of a reduction in peripheral nerve conduction velocity at lower blood lead levels. The threshold has been suggested to be as low as 30 ug/100 ml, although other studies have not seen effects below a blood lead level of 70 ug/100 ml. Several large epidemiological studies of lead workers have found inconclusive evidence of an association between lead exposure and the incidence of cancer. However, based on closer analysis the increase did not appear to be related to lead exposure. There was also a small but significant increase in the incidence of lung cancer, but this could have been the result of confounding from cigarette smoking or concurrent arsenic exposure. There is some evidence in humans that there is an association between low level lead exposure and blood pressure, but the results are inconsistent. Lead appears to reduce the resistance and increase the mortality of experimental animals. It apparently impairs antibody production and decreases immunoglobulin plaque forming cells. There is some evidence for suggesting that workers with blood lead levels between 20 and 85 ug/100 ml may have an increased susceptibility to colds, but a study of lead workers with blood lead levels less than 50 ug/100 ml showed no significant immunological changes. Although it is widely accepted that personal hygiene is the most important determinant of an individual's blood lead level, recent interesting information has shown that genetic polymorphism may also have an impact. The use of most of these chemicals is declining with the gradual demise of the use of lead in petrol, but lead naphthenates and stearates are still used in stabilizers for plastics and as lead 'soaps'. In fact, the only compound now produced for petrol usage is tetraethyl lead. Exposure is only seen during the production, transportation and blending of this substance into petrol and in workers involved in cleaning storage tanks that have contained leaded petrol. It is in this final group, the tank cleaners, where the highest potential morbidity and mortality may be seen. (PMID: 15020724 ).
Lead, ion (PB2+)ChEBI
haro Mix MH-204HMDB
Lead ion (PB2+)HMDB
Lead(2+) ionHMDB
Chemical FormulaPb
Average Molecular Weight207.2
Monoisotopic Molecular Weight207.97663585
IUPAC Nameλ²-lead(2+) ion
Traditional Nameλ²-lead(2+) ion
CAS Registry Number7439-92-1
InChI Identifier
Chemical Taxonomy
DescriptionThis compound belongs to the class of inorganic compounds known as homogeneous post-transition metal compounds. These are inorganic compounds containing only metal atoms,with the largest atom being a post-transition metal atom.
KingdomInorganic compounds
Super ClassHomogeneous metal compounds
ClassHomogeneous post-transition metal compounds
Sub ClassNot Available
Direct ParentHomogeneous post-transition metal compounds
Alternative ParentsNot Available
  • Homogeneous post-transition metal
  • Acyclic compound
Molecular FrameworkAcyclic compounds
External Descriptors
StatusDetected and Quantified
  • Toxin/Pollutant
  • Osmolyte, enzyme cofactor, signalling
ApplicationNot Available
Cellular locationsNot Available
Physical Properties
Experimental Properties
Melting Point327.5 °CNot Available
Boiling PointNot AvailableNot Available
Water SolubilityNot AvailableNot Available
LogPNot AvailableNot Available
Predicted Properties
Physiological Charge2ChemAxon
Hydrogen Acceptor Count0ChemAxon
Hydrogen Donor Count0ChemAxon
Polar Surface Area0 Å2ChemAxon
Rotatable Bond Count0ChemAxon
Refractivity0 m3·mol-1ChemAxon
Polarizability1.78 Å3ChemAxon
Number of Rings0ChemAxon
Rule of FiveYesChemAxon
Ghose FilterYesChemAxon
Veber's RuleYesChemAxon
MDDR-like RuleYesChemAxon
Spectrum TypeDescriptionSplash Key
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 10V, PositiveNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 20V, PositiveNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 40V, PositiveNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 10V, NegativeNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 20V, NegativeNot Available
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 40V, NegativeNot Available
Biological Properties
Cellular LocationsNot Available
Biofluid Locations
  • Blood
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)
  • Saliva
  • Urine
Tissue LocationNot Available
PathwaysNot Available
Normal Concentrations
BloodDetected and Quantified0.04568(0.03895-0.05433) uMNot AvailableBothNormal
    • Report on Human B...
BloodDetected and Quantified0.09184(0.06106-0.13319) uMAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal
    • Report on Human B...
BloodDetected and Quantified0.67 +/- 0.22 uMNewborn (0-30 days old)BothNormal
    • Geigy Scientific ...
BloodDetected and Quantified1.08 +/- 0.31 uMAdult (>18 years old)MaleNormal
    • Geigy Scientific ...
BloodDetected and Quantified0.92 +/- 0.27 uMAdult (>18 years old)FemaleNormal
    • Geigy Scientific ...
BloodDetected and Quantified0.0594 (0.0574-0.0618) uMAdult (>18 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
BloodDetected and Quantified0.0404 (0.0382-0.0428) uMChildren (1-13 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)Detected and Quantified0.017 +/- 0.010 uMAdult (>18 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)Detected and Quantified0.075 +/- 0.055 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal details
SalivaDetected and Quantified0.018 +/- 0.01 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal
    • Zerihun T. Dame, ...
SalivaDetected and Quantified0.000386 +/- 0.000179 uMAdult (>18 years old)Male
SalivaDetected and Quantified0.000425 +/- 0.000545 uMAdult (>18 years old)Male
SalivaDetected and Quantified0.000584 +/- 0.000401 uMAdult (>18 years old)Male
SalivaDetected and Quantified0.000376 +/- 0.000159 uMAdult (>18 years old)Male
UrineDetected and Quantified0.00034 (0.00021-0.00047) umol/mmol creatinineNot AvailableBothNormal
    • Report on Human B...
UrineDetected and Quantified0.00050 (0.00032-0.00074) umol/mmol creatinineAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal
    • Report on Human B...
UrineDetected and Quantified0.0026 (0.0007-0.0110) umol/mmol creatinineAdult (>18 years old)Both
UrineDetected and Quantified0.011 (0.0-0.020) umol/mmol creatinineAdult (>18 years old)BothNormal
    • Geigy Scientific ...
    • West Cadwell, N.J...
    • Basel, Switzerlan...
UrineDetected and Quantified<0.00818 umol/mmol creatinineAdult (>18 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
UrineDetected and Quantified0.000280 (0.000267-0.000289) umol/mmol creatinineAdult (>18 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
UrineDetected and Quantified0.000330 (0.000301-0.000361) umol/mmol creatinineChildren (1-13 years old)Not SpecifiedNormal details
Abnormal Concentrations
BloodDetected and Quantified0.12 +/- 0.061 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothMultiple sclerosis details
BloodDetected and Quantified0.003 +/- 0.0016 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothParkinson's disease details
BloodDetected and Quantified1.2-3.0 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothMild lead poisoning (delayed reaction times, poor concentration) details
BloodDetected and Quantified>2.5 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothLead induced anemia details
BloodDetected and Quantified>4 uMAdult (>18 years old)BothSevere lead poisoning details
BloodDetected and Quantified0.0021 +/- 0.0013 uMElderly (>65 years old)BothAlzheimer's disease details
Associated Disorders and Diseases
Disease References
Alzheimer's disease
  1. Bocca B, Forte G, Petrucci F, Pino A, Marchione F, Bomboi G, Senofonte O, Giubilei F, Alimonti A: Monitoring of chemical elements and oxidative damage in patients affected by Alzheimer's disease. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2005;41(2):197-203. [16244393 ]
Multiple sclerosis
  1. Forte G, Visconti A, Santucci S, Ghazaryan A, Figa-Talamanca L, Cannoni S, Bocca B, Pino A, Violante N, Alimonti A, Salvetti M, Ristori G: Quantification of chemical elements in blood of patients affected by multiple sclerosis. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2005;41(2):213-6. [16244395 ]
Parkinson's disease
  1. Forte G, Alimonti A, Pino A, Stanzione P, Brescianini S, Brusa L, Sancesario G, Violante N, Bocca B: Metals and oxidative stress in patients with Parkinson's disease. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2005;41(2):189-95. [16244392 ]
Associated OMIM IDs
DrugBank IDNot Available
DrugBank Metabolite IDNot Available
Phenol Explorer Compound IDNot Available
Phenol Explorer Metabolite IDNot Available
FoodDB IDFDB003777
KNApSAcK IDNot Available
Chemspider ID65967
KEGG Compound IDC06696
BioCyc IDCPD-527
BiGG IDNot Available
Wikipedia LinkLead
NuGOwiki LinkHMDB04628
Metagene LinkHMDB04628
METLIN IDNot Available
PubChem Compound73212
ChEBI ID49807
Synthesis ReferenceNot Available
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)Download (PDF)
General References
  1. Gidlow DA: Lead toxicity. Occup Med (Lond). 2004 Mar;54(2):76-81. [15020724 ]