Lead(II) acetate

Lead(II) acetate

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IUPACName = Lead(II) acetate
SystematicName = Lead(II) ethanoate
OtherNames = Plumbous acetate, Salt of Saturn, Sugar of Lead, lead diacetate
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CASNo = 6080-56-4
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Section2 = Chembox Properties
Formula = Pb(C2H3O2)2
MolarMass = 325.29 g/mol (Anhydrous) 379.33g/mol (Trihydrate)
Appearance = White powder or colorless, efflorescent crystals
Density = 2.55 g/cm3, solid trihydrate
MeltingPt = 75 °C
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BoilingPt = 100 °C
Boiling_notes = decomposes
Solubility = 60 g/100 mL water
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MainHazards = Neurotoxic, Probable Human Carcinogen
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Lead(II) acetate is a chemical compound, a white crystalline substance with a sweetish taste. It is made by treating litharge (lead(II) oxide, PbO) with acetic acid. Like other lead compounds, it is very toxic. Lead acetate is soluble in water and glycerin. With water it forms the trihydrate, Pb(CH3COO)2·3H2O, a colorless or white efflorescent monoclinic crystalline substance. Lead(II) acetate is also known as lead acetate, lead diacetate, plumbous acetate, sugar of lead, lead sugar, salt of Saturn, and Goulard's powder (after Thomas Goulard).

The substance is used as a reagent to make other lead compounds and as a fixative for some dyes. In low concentrations, it is the principal active ingredient in progressive types of hair coloring dyes. Lead(II) acetate is also used as a mordant in textile printing and dyeing, as a drier in paints and varnishes, and in preparing other lead compounds.

Historical use

Lead acetate has a sweet taste, which has led to its use as a sugar substitute throughout history. The ancient Romans, who had few sweeteners besides honey, would boil must (grape juice) in lead pots to produce a reduced sugar syrup called "defrutum", concentrated again into "sapa". This syrup was used to sweeten wine, and to sweeten and preserve fruit. It is possible that lead acetate or other lead compounds leaching into the syrup might have caused lead poisoning in anyone consuming it. [ [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/wine/leadpoisoning.html Lead Poisoning and Rome ] ]

Pope Clement II died in October 1047.A recent toxicologic examinationFact|date=June 2007 of his remains confirmed centuries old rumors that the Pope had been poisoned with lead sugar. It is, however, not clear whether he was assassinated or not, as lead sugar in those times was often used as a cure for venereal diseases.

In 1787 the painter Albert Christoph Dies swallowed, by accident, three-quarters of an ounce of lead acetate. His recovery from this poison was slow and incomplete.He lived with illnesses until his death in 1822.

Mary Seacole applied it among other remedies against an epidemic of cholera in PanamaMary Seacole: "Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands", Chapter IV, (1990 Oxford University Press reprint) ISBN 0-19-506672-3; (2005 Penguin 20th Century Classics reprint, ed. Sarah Salih) ISBN 0-14-043902-1] Jane Robinson: "Mary Seacole: The Charismatic Black Nurse who became a heroine of the Crimea", p.53. Constable 2004 (p/b. ISBN 1-84119-677-0)] .

Sugar of lead has also been used to treat poison ivy.

Lead acetate is no longer used as a sweetener in most of the world because of its recognized toxicity.

Other uses

Lead acetate, as well as white lead, have been used in cosmetics throughout history, though this practice has ceased in Western countries. [Gunn, Fenja. (1973). The Artificial Face: A History of Cosmetics. — as cited in [http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/leisure/leadfacepowder.html Leisure Activities of an 18th Century Lady] ] It is still used in men's hair coloring products" [http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/courses/geog100/MielkeHairLead4.htm Lead Based Hair Products: Too Hazardous for Household Use - Results] ", Howard W. Mielke, PhD, Myiesha D. Taylor, Chris R. Gonzales, M. Kelley Smith, Pamela V. Daniels, and Ayanna V.Buckner. Journal of American Pharmaceutical Association (NS37, Jan/Feb 1997:85-89).] like Grecian Formula.

Lead acetate paper is used to detect the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide. The gas reacts with lead(II) acetate on the moistened test paper to form a grey precipitate of lead(II) sulfide.

Lead acetate solution was a commonly used folk remedy for sore nipples. [ [http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13493/13493-h/13493-h.htm The Project Gutenberg eBook of The American Frugal Housewife, by Lydia M. Child ] ]

An aqueous solution of lead acetate is the byproduct of the 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar used in the cleaning and maintenance of stainless steel firearm suppressors (silencers). The solution is agitated by the bubbling action of the hydrogen peroxide, and the main reaction is the dissolution of lead deposits within the suppressor by the acetic acid, which forms lead acetate. Because of its high toxicity, this chemical solution must be appropriately disposed by a chemical processing facility or hazmat center. Alternately, the solution may be reacted with salt water or sulfuric acid to precipitate insoluble lead chloride or lead sulfate, respectively. The solids may then be removed by mechanical filtration and are safer to dispose of than aqueous lead acetate.

Biological hazards

Lead(II) acetate, among other lead salts, has been reported to cross the placenta and to the embryo leading to fetal mortality. Lead salts also have teratogenic effect in some animal species.


External links

* [http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HEC/CSEM/lead/ Case Studies in Environmental Medicine - Lead Toxicity]
* [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/wine/leadpoisoning.html Essay on "Lead Poisoning and Rome"]
* [http://science.howstuffworks.com/hair-coloring6.htm HowStuffWorks "What Kind of Hair Color Do Men Use?" discussion of progressive dyes containing lead acetate]
* [http://www.npi.gov.au/database/substance-info/profiles/50.html National Pollutant Inventory - Lead and Lead Compounds Fact Sheet]
* [http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts13.html ToxFAQs: Lead]
* [http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-lead.html US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fact sheet "Lead Acetate in Hair Dye Products"]

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