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Lead: Radionuclides

  1. Asnor Azrin Sabuti,
  2. Che Abd Rahim Mohamed

Published Online: 15 DEC 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781119951438.eibc0423

Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Sabuti, A. A. and Rahim Mohamed, C. A. 2011. Lead: Radionuclides. Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2011


Lead (Pb) is a highly toxic and radiogenic metal. It occurs naturally in the Earth, but is not very abundant. Even so, lead isotopes have been very useful ss tracers in glaciology, limnology, oceanography, and in atmospheric studies of global (transboundary) and local pollution. The dominant radioisotope of lead is 210Pb, a very ubiquitous secondary radionuclide that is formed from 238U decay via 222Rn. 210Pb originates from the Earth's crust, through the decay of 226Ra. There are many factors that complicate the behavior of 210Pb in soil, air, and water. Owing to these, a great deal of effort has been devoted to the quantitative determination of lead isotopes over the past few years. The separation and counting techniques for lead need to be rapid, convenient, and precise, and utilize very small amounts of material. Humans are exposed to lead through ingestion and inhalation, and it is stored for long periods of time mainly in bone and teeth. Thus, more studies on environmental exposures to lead need to be conducted, particularly for air monitoring, dust, water, and soil sampling, and lead-based product sampling.


  • lead (Pb);
  • 210Pb;
  • separation and counting techniques;
  • ingestion and inhalation;
  • measuring environmental exposure