Lead is used in articles such as car batteries, fishing weights, ammunition and soldering points in electronics. It can also be mixed with other metals to facilitate the manufacture of parts where shape and resistance are important elements of functionality, such as in keys and taps. Lead compounds can be added to plastic to make it durable and to provide the color. Lead compounds in different colors can also be used in artist’s paint.
Lead is a very toxic substance and bans referring to lead and its compounds are prescribed by relevant national legislation on bans and restrictions. National by-law prescribes that lead shall not be used in petrol and jewellery, while the use of some lead compounds are banned for paints. Jewellery articles refer to jewellery made of noble metal, imitation jewellery (bijouterie) and hair accessories, including bracelets, necklaces, rings, piercing jewellery, wrist watches and wrist-wear, brooches and cufflinks.
Lead can damage the nervous system and affect, for instance, children’s ability to learn. Fetuses and children are especially vulnerable.