Lead carbonate

Lead(II) carbonate is the chemical compound PbCO3. It is a white solid with several practical uses, despite its toxicity.[2] It occurs naturally as the mineral cerussite.[3]

Lead carbonate
IUPAC name
Lead(II) carbonate
Other names
ECHA InfoCard 100.009.041
RTECS number
  • OF9275000
Molar mass 267.21 g/mol
Appearance White powder
Density 6.582 g/cm3
Melting point 315 °C (599 °F; 588 K) (decomposes)
0.00011 g/100 mL (20 °C)
1.46 x 10−13
Solubility insoluble in alcohol, ammonia;
soluble in acid, alkali
61.2·10−6 cm3/mol
1.804 [1]
Safety data sheet External MSDS
Repr. Cat. 1/3
Toxic (T)
Harmful (Xn)
Dangerous for the environment (N)
R-phrases (outdated) R61, R20/22, R33, R62, R50/53
S-phrases (outdated) S53, S45, S60, S61
Flash point Non-flammable
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
N verify (what is YN ?)
Infobox references


Like all metal carbonates, lead(II) carbonate adopts a dense, highly crosslinked structure consisting of intact CO32- and metal cation sites. As verified by X-ray crystallography, the Pb(II) centers are seven-coordinate, being surrounded by multiple carbonate ligands. The carbonate centers are bonded to bidentate to a single Pb and bridge to five other Pb sites.[4]

Production and use

Lead carbonate is manufactured by passing carbon dioxide into a cold dilute solution of lead(II) acetate, or by shaking a suspension of a lead salt more soluble than the carbonate with ammonium carbonate at a low temperature to avoid formation of basic lead carbonate.[2]

Pb(CH3COO)2 + (NH4)2CO3 → PbCO3 + 2 NH4(CH3COO)

Lead carbonate is used as a catalyst to polymerize formaldehyde to poly(oxymethylene). It improves the bonding of chloroprene to wire.[2]


The supply and use of this compound is restricted in Europe.[5]

Other lead carbonates

A number of lead carbonates are known:

  • White lead, a basic lead carbonate, 2PbCO3·Pb(OH)2
  • Shannonite, PbCO3·PbO
  • Plumbonacrite, 3PbCO3·Pb(OH)2·PbO[6]
  • PbCO3·2PbO
  • Abellaite, NaPb2(OH)(CO3)2
  • Leadhillite, 2PbCO3·PbSO4·Pb(OH)2


  1. Pradyot Patnaik. Handbook of Inorganic Chemicals. McGraw-Hill, 2002, ISBN 0-07-049439-8
  2. Carr, Dodd S. (2005). "Lead Compounds". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a15_249.
  3. Inorganic Chemistry, Egon Wiberg, Arnold Frederick Holleman Elsevier 2001 ISBN 0-12-352651-5
  4. Sahl, Kurt (1974). "Verfeinerung der Kristallstruktur von Cerussit, PbCO3". Zeitschrift für Kristallographie. 139 (3–5): 215–222. Bibcode:1974ZK....139..215S. doi:10.1524/zkri.1974.139.3-5.215.
  5. "EU law - EUR-Lex".
  6. S.V. Krivovichev and P.C. Burns, "Crystal chemistry of basic lead carbonates. II. Crystal structure of synthetic 'plumbonacrite'." Mineralogical Magazine, 64(6), pp. 1069-1075, December 2000. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-05-21. Retrieved 2009-05-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
H2CO3 He
BeCO3 B C (NH4)2CO3,
O F Ne
Al2(CO3)3 Si P S Cl Ar
Sc Ti V Cr MnCO3 FeCO3 CoCO3 NiCO3 CuCO3 ZnCO3 Ga Ge As Se Br Kr
Rb2CO3 SrCO3 Y Zr Nb Mo Tc Ru Rh Pd Ag2CO3 CdCO3 In Sn Sb Te I Xe
BaCO3   Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl2CO3 PbCO3 (BiO)2CO3 Po At Rn
Fr Ra   Rf Db Sg Bh Hs Mt Ds Rg Cn Nh Fl Mc Lv Ts Og
La2(CO3)3 Ce2(CO3)3 Pr Nd Pm Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu
Ac Th Pa UO2CO3 Np Pu Am Cm Bk Cf Es Fm Md No Lr
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