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Lead carbonate, also known as cerussite, is a poisonous inorganic compound. It occurs naturally in the mineral cerussite and is also manufactured in the laboratory. Despite its latent danger, lead is used in various applications. It is a common pigment in white house paints and in high pressure lubricating greases.
Lead carbonate is soluble in acid and alkali. However, it is virtually insoluble in cold water. If it comes in contact with fluorine, it decomposes with incandescence and emits toxic fumes.
Lead carbonate is also a component of high pressure lubricating greases. It is used to accelerate the curing process of thermosetting silicone resins. In addition, it is applied as coating to heat-sensitive sheets for thermographic copying.
Typical applications of lead carbonate include polymerization catalyst for formaldehyde to poly(oxymethylene) and as a lubricant stabilizer for vinyl chloride polymers. It is also a component of heat-sensitive sheets and in photoconductors. Besides, it is used in corrosion-resistant grids in lead-storage batteries.
Lead carbonate is generally soluble in dilute acetic acid, sulphuric acid, and alkali. In contrast, it is practically insoluble in ammonia and alcohol. The soluble salts of lead include NH4CO3, NH4S, NH4SO4, and NH43PO4.
In the USA, lead carbonate is normally a mixture of nitrate and nitrite, with a maximum of 30 mg/kg. In Japan, it typically contains 20 mg/kg.
When exposed to acid, the carbonate portion of the compound is protonated. This process forms carbonic acid. Carbonic acid tends to disproportionate to carbon dioxide in water.