This week, we take a look at one of the lesser known and recycled metals that we work with. Once used widely in everything from cosmetics to plumbing, lead has fallen out of fashion due to it’s high toxicity, but it’s still a valuable limited resource which can be used for a wide variety of industrial applications and most importantly in the manufacturing of lead-acid batteries. Here are seven interesting things you didn’t know about lead.
98% of the lead in car batteries is recyclable
This is relatively high considering only 58% of the aluminium in a soft drink can can be recycled.
Lead acid batteries are one of the most highly recycled consumer products
In 2013, recycled lead production made up 54% of total lead production. The recycling rate of lead is also higher than more commonly recycled materials like glass and newspaper.
Lead was once one of the most widely used metals in the world
Due to it’s industry friendly properties including excellent malleability, corrosion resistance and ductility, lead was widely used throughout history up until the 20th century when it’s toxicity became known.
The chemical symbol of lead is Pb
This comes from the Latin word plumbum which means ‘waterworks’ referring to the Roman practice of making water pipes out of lead. Some historians believe that lead poisoning from the water pipes was partially responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire.
Lead is highly toxic
Today, we know lead is highly toxic and can cause enormous damage to the nervous system, internal organs and brain. Lead accumulates in soft tissue and bone and poisoning presents itself in the form of headaches, seizures and disorientation. Before the toxicity of lead was known, it was used in the ancient world as everything from a skin whitening cosmetic to a wine sweetener.
Australia is the world’s largest producer of lead
Australia, China and the USA collectively produce 8 million tons of lead each year which is used in a variety of industrial applications. Over half of all lead produced today is used as electrodes in car batteries.
Lead is sometimes called the first metal
This is because it was widely known and used in the ancient world. Lead played an important role in alchemy, as it was associated with the planet Saturn and alchemists believed there was a way to transform lead into gold.
Metal Men Recycling offer cash for scrap metal of all kinds including lead acid batteries. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 5941 6677.