Lead is a heavy, ductile, soft, grayish solid. It can be cast and fabricated easily and has the unusual ability to absorb sound and other forms of vibration. Although it is dissolved by dilute nitric acid, it tends to be resistant to other forms of acid solutions.
By far the most important use of lead is in storage batteries, with the production of antiknock gasolines, pigments, ammunition, solder, and plumbing materials following. In the last half century, evidence about the toxic effects of lead has accumulated to the point where its presence in the environment is considered to be a serious hazard for humans, especially for young children.