Lead Acetate

 Expected Concentrations:

P-2-P clandestine laboratories have not been tested for exposures at this time. Expected concentrations of the production chemicals are therefore not know at this time.

Current standards for acetic anhydride are as follows:





0.05 mg/m3

0.1 mg/m3

0.05 mg/m3

100 mg/m3

General Health Effects:

The primary concern regarding lead acetate is the lead that is imparted into the body. Lead acetate can be taken into the body by ingestion, inhalation, and through skin absorption. At one time lead acetate was applied to the eye directly for medical purposes but was found to cause opacities in the eye.

The primary concern regarding lead acetate is the uptake of the lead. Lead is a very toxic compound that causes systemic effects to many different organ systems. Lead is known to effect the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the gastrointestinal system, and others. Acute symptoms vary but can include:  abdominal pain, anemia, anxiety, G.I. problems, forgetfulness, hypotension, insomnia, motor weakness, joint pain, and weight loss. Long exposures or high acute exposures may cause central nervous system damage as well as peripheral nervous system damage.

Health Risks to Children:

Childhood exposure to high levels of lead are especially concerning since children may experience neuro-cognitive effects at very low doses of lead. Common symptoms in children exposed to lead include: weight loss, weakness, anemia, and subtle cognitive effects that may effect classroom behavior. Gastrointestinal and central nervous system effects have also been observed.

Fetal Health Effects:

Lead has been linked to fetal anomalies in animals and may have similar concerns in humans.

Additional Resources:

  1. ACGIH. 2003. Documentation of the ACGIH TLV's - Hydrogen Chloride. American Conference of Governmental Hygienists. Cincinnati, OH.
  2. Proctor, N.H., Hughes, J.P. 1978. Chemical Hazards of the Workplace. J.B. Lippincott Co. Philadelphia, PA 533 pp.
  3. Salocks, C. and Kaley, K.B. Technical Support Document: Toxicity Clandestine Labs: Methamphetamine. Vol 1, Number 2. Iodine. Cal/EPA. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Sacramento, CA. 2003. 10 pp.
  4. NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards