Lead is a highly toxic metallic element which occurs naturally in the earth's crust and has many industrial uses. It has been extensively used in the modern industry to manufacture products such as lead-acid batteries, radiation shields, gasoline, paint, etc. Being very soft and pliable and highly resistant to corrosion, it was ideal for use in plumbing as well as for the manufacture of pewter.

Batteries remain the main modern usage of lead and Metals Processing is the major source of lead emissions to the air today. The highest levels of lead in air are generally found near lead smelters. Other stationary sources are waste incinerators, utilities, and lead-acid battery manufacturers.

Everyone is exposed to trace amounts of lead through air, soil, household dust, food, drinking water and various consumer products. Even small amounts of lead can be hazardous to human health. However, since the early 1970s, lead exposure in Canada has decreased substantially mainly because leaded gasoline and lead based paint were gradually phased-out and the use of lead solder is no longer used in food cans.

In Canada, lead was one of the first substances to be added to the List of Toxic Substances (Schedule 1) of the original Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). As a country that recognizes the value of a healthy environment, the Government of Canada has implemented several regulations which address the main sources of lead exposure.

For information on Canada's international engagement on this substance, please visit:

CAS (Chemical Abstract Service) registry number: 7439-92-1

For more information on this substance, please visit the Chemical Substances website.

Risk Assessment

Risk Management Tool(s)

Tool(s) developed to manage risks associated with the substance:

Other Information


Email address: GR-RM@ec.gc.ca
Fax number: (819) 994-0007

Chemicals Management Division
Environment Canada
Fontaine Building
200 Sacré Coeur Blvd.
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3

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