Molecule of the Week

Lead carbonate

November 5, 2007

Lead carbonate—white lead—is found as the mineral cerussite, which is mined and processed to produce lead and lead compounds. White lead has also been used as a pigment since antiquity; however, it has been phased out in many countries because of its toxicity. Although other white pigments exist (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide), many artists continue to use flake white, which is made with lead carbonate, because of its superior properties, such as fast drying and better durability.