Lead is used in products 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 is important, such as in keys and taps. Lead compounds can be used in plastic to make it more durable and give it colour. Lead compounds in different colours can also be used in artist’s paint.
Lead is a very toxic substance which may not be used in certain products. It can damage the nervous system and affect, for instance, the ability to learn. Foetuses and children are especially vulnerable. Lead is banned in petrol, paint, toys, electric products and jewellery. Lead is also banned in shot for hunting in wetlands or for shooting sports such as clay pigeon shooting. Sweden has put forward a proposal in the EU to ban lead in all products which children are able to put in their mouths.