Lead is one of the oldest metals. Its use dates back 6000 years. Its chemical symbol Pb derives from the Latin “plumbum”. The production centres of the time were in Asia Minor and Spain where, at the beginning of the Empire, about 40,000 slaves waited for it to be extracted and then transformed it, achieving excellent results of purity. In fact, samples analysed from that time were found to be as pure as 99.95%.
Lead has varied uses: in electronics for accumulators and to coat cables for valve fuses; in chemistry for the transport and storage of corrosive substances and for the coating of metal parts; in medicine for protection against X-rays; in ammunition; in the pharmaceutical industry as a basis for several chemical compounds; in paints and in many other applications.