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The Swedish Chemicals Agency logo

Statistics in brief - Usage of lead in Sweden

Newly manufactured products should as far as possible be free from lead by 2010 at the latest according to Government bill 2000/01:65 that has been approved by the Swedish parliament.

Consumption of lead in different applications 1995 and 2005, tonnes

Area of use19952005
Accumulators 22,000 20,000
Ammunition: bullets 300 310
Ammunition: shots 880 270
Lead crystal glass 1,320 120
Lead sheathed cables 3,000 0
Boat keels 500 1,000-2,000
Electronics, monitors 1 355 500
Sinkers: professional use 400 200
Sinkers: Sport fishing 200 200
Paints 330 30
Alloys 860 800
Plastics 1,700 20
Radiation shields 70 70
Weights: wheels 400 400
Weights: others 500 500
Total 33,000 25,000

Source: From Swedish Chemicals Agency and Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, government commission about lead in ammunition, 2006.

Lead is used both as a metal and as different lead compounds, mostly lead oxides.  

Lead is above all used in accumulators for cars and batteries used in industry. 

The use of lead for sheathing of sea cables has stopped.

The use in plastic has almost disappeared, other stabilizers are used instead.

Genuine crystal glass can be called so only if it contains lead.

Ammunition, shots and bullets, contribute much to the emission of lead into the natural environment. Legislation has been introduced to restrict this use.

Petrol for cars is now lead-free.

Use of lead in paints has decreased to a tenth in a decade. It is mainly antirust paints that contains lead.

At fishing, lead is used in sinkers. Many lead sinkers are lost by fishing in streaming waters.

Lead is used in weights e.g. in boat keels, car wheels and industry robots.  Consumption in boat keels has grown.

Lead can be found in many kinds of electrical and electronic devices, e.g. cathode ray tubes and light bulbs.

Lead in raw material for plastic

Graph - Lead in raw material for plastic.

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agnecy.

The chart shows the total turn-over of lead compounds in raw materials for plastics. Plastics containing different lead compounds can also be imported as a part of finished goods. Such lead compounds are not included in this diagram.

Lead is used as a stabilizer and pigment in plastics. Lead-containing stabilizers are substituted with other stabilizers leading to a strongly reduced utilisation of lead in plastics.

Lead compounds in paints

Graph - Lead compounds in paints.

Source: Products Register, Swedish Chemicals Agency.

The diagram shows the total turn-over of lead compounds in paints. Different lead oxides are principally used in rust prevention paints. Such paint is often called red lead. Also lead sulfochromate and lead chromate molybdate sulphate that give yellow and red colours are common lead-containing pigments.