Need Help?

Get in touch with us


Lead Acetate – Definition, Properties, Uses

Apr 12, 2023

Lead Acetate

Have you ever licked lipstick when you sketch your lips with them? Do you feel they taste quite sweet? But when you check the ingredient list, there will be no sugar or other sweetening agent. Then what makes it sweetish taste?

Similarly, what makes the hair color dye your hair so gracefully that your head seems full of youthfully dark hair? What chemical compound is in nature that is used in both these cases and lets you show your youthful hair with sweet lips?


Both of the aforementioned instances involve lead (+2) acetate. Lead sugar is the name given to it because of its sweet flavor. And dyeing makes extensive use of it. Look at this article if you want to learn more about the uses of lead acetate, its characteristics, the formula for lead (II) acetate, and other details. 

History of Lead Acetate

The first poisoning case by lead(+2) acetate was noticed in 1047 when Pope Clement II died because of lead sugar. It was confirmed later. In 1822, a painter died of slow poisoning by lead acetate.


Although lead acetate used as a sweetener was illegal, many cases were recorded where wines were adulterated with lead acetate, resulting in many deaths. In the poisoning cases, lead(+2) acetate was also used in the 1850s with other remedies during the epidemic in Panama.

In 1944, it was first prepared in a laboratory in the United States.


Lead Acetate Formula and Structure

The lead(II) acetate formula is Pb(CH3COO)2. The IUPAC name of lead acetate is Lead(II) ethanoate. It is an ionic compound with a cation as Pb+2 and an anion as CH3COO-.

Hence, there exists an ionic bonding among these two ions.


The lead acetate formula is derived chemically by using the crisscross method. In this method, the chemical formula of individual components is written with their valencies. Components with positive valency are written on the left side, while negative valency is written on the right side. After that, the valencies are crisscrossed and noted as subscripts.

Therefore, following the above-crisscrossed method, the lead(II) acetate formula is generated as,


Pb+2 on the left side while CH3COO on the right side. Then, by crisscrossing these valency numbers, the lead(II) acetate formula becomes Pb(CH3COO)2.

Manufacturing of Lead(+2) Acetate

The following methods are used to prepare lead(+2) acetate.


1. From Acetic Acid and Hydrogen Peroxide:

On boiling lead metal with acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide, lead(+2) acetate is formed. The chemical reaction occurs is

Pb + H2O2 + 2H+ → Pb2+ + 2H2O


Pb2+ + 2CH3COO → Pb(CH3COO)2

In this method, lead carbonate or lead oxide can be used instead of lead metal.

2. From Copper Acetate:

When lead metal is reacted with copper acetate, it gives lead(+2) acetate as one of the products. The chemical reaction that takes place is

Cu(CH3COO)2 + Pb → Pb(CH3COO)2 + Cu

It is an instance of a displacement reaction.

3. From the Reaction of Sodium Acetate and Lead(III) Nitrate:

When sodium acetate reacts with lead(III) nitrate, it gives lead acetate its major product. The chemical reaction that occurs is

Pb(NO3)2 + 2CH3COONa → 2NaNO3 + Pb(CH3COO)2

It is an instance of a double displacement reaction.

By the action of acetic acid on litharge or thin plates, lead(+2) acetate is produced.

Properties of Lead(+2) Acetate

Although lead acetate is widely known for its toxic properties, many other properties of lead(+2) acetate are classified into physical and chemical categories.

1. Physical Properties of Lead(+2) Acetate

  • The molecular lead(II) acetate formula is Pb(CH3COO)2.
  • The molar mass of Pb(CH3COO)2.3H2O, a trihydrated form of lead(+2) acetate, is 379.33 g.mol-1.
  • Anhydrous lead acetate has a molar mass equal to 325.29 g.mol-1.
  • It is slightly sweet. Hence, known as lead sugar.
  • The density of anhydrous lead acetate is 3.25
  • It has a welcoming acetic smell.
  • The density of the trihydrated form of lead acetate is 2.55
  • It is a white-colored efflorescent crystalline solid.
  • Anhydrous lead acetate has a melting point of 280°C. At the same time, its trihydrated form has a 75°C melting point.
  • Lead(+2) acetate is soluble in water, alcohol, glycerol, etc. The solubility of lead acetate in water increases with the increase in temperature.
  • It has a very high solubility in methanol.
  • The structure of lead acetate crystals is monoclinic.
  • Lead acetate is a non–flammable compound but toxic.

2. Chemical Properties of Lead(+2) Acetate

  • When lead(+2) acetate is heated, it decomposes into toxic lead and acetic acid fumes.
  • Reacting lead acetate with hydrochloric acid gives lead chloride and acetic acid.

Pb(CH3COO)2 + 2HCl → PbCl2 + 2CH3COOH

  • When lead acetate is treated with sulphuric acid, it gives lead sulfate and acetic acid as products.

Pb(CH3COO)2 + H2SO4 → PbSO4 + 2CH3COOH

  • Lead sulfide and sodium acetate are produced by reacting lead(+2) acetate with sodium sulfide. The black-colored substance produced during the reaction can detect the presence of lead sulfide.

Pb(CH3COO)2 + Na2S → PbS + 2CH3COONa

  • The reaction of potassium iodide with lead(+2) acetate gives lead iodide and potassium acetate.

Pb(CH3COO)2 + 2KI → PbI2 + 2CH3COOK

  • Reacting lead acetate with hydrogen sulfide gives a black-colored lead sulfide.

Pb(CH3COO)2 + H2S → PbS + 2CH3COOH

  • In solutions, lead acetate breaks into ions and forms Pb+2 ions and CH3COO The acetate ions form acetic acid as they operate as conjugate acid. Hence, lead(+2) acetate is basic.

Lead Acetate Uses

Lead(+2) acetate is used for various purposes. Some of them are

  • It is used to identify the poisonous gas hydrogen sulfide.
  • It is used as a caustic in textile printing and cotton dyeing.
  • It is used as a lead coating on metals.
  • Lead(+2) acetate is used as a drier in paints.
  • It is used as an emulsifier, dispersion agent, antifoaming agent, floatation agent, etc.
  • It is also used in gold cyanidation, waterproofing, anti-fouling paints, and insecticides.
  • In the middle ages, lead(+2) acetate was used for making slow matches.
  • It is used in cosmetics. But, due to its harmful properties, its utilization has been banned.
  • Lead acetate is also employed as a mordant.
  • It is also used for making other lead compounds.
  • An aqueous solution of lead(+2) acetate is operated as a populace remedy for sore nipples.
  • It has a sweet taste and is used as a sugar replacement in wines and foods. However, due to its dangerous nature, it is prohibited now.
  • It can lead to lead poisoning.
  • It damages many enzymes in the cells of the body organs resulting in constipation, pain in muscles and joints, general malaise, etc., and problems.
  • It disrupts the way brain cells transmit and receive signals.
  • It is used as a catalyst and flame retardant.


You are now well-versed with lead(+2) acetate from the above discussion. It is a white-colored crystalline salt with the lead(II) acetate formula Pb(CH3COO)2. It is also studied as sugar of lead, plumbous acetate, Goulard’s powder, lead diacetate, salt of Saturn, or lead sugar.

It is an ionic or electrovalent compound that can be formed by the action of lead and hydrogen peroxide or with acetic acid on lead metal. The other manufacturing methods, the chemical and physical properties, and lead acetate uses are also explained in this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is lead(+2) acetate dangerous as it contains lead?

Lead acetate is inorganic. Lead acetate is dissolved in glycerin and water. When dissolved in water, lead(+2) acetate becomes an organic lead. This form of lead is tremendously dangerous. It can be captivated via your skin and is additionally toxic to the central nervous system and brain than inorganic lead.

2. How to remove lead(+2) acetate if it enters the eyes?

In such a case, you can use the following safety measures:

  • Wash the eye with any clean and neutral solution as soon as possible.
  • Clean tap water or bottled drinking water is perfectly acceptable in an emergency.
  • Shaking a bottled soft drink until it doesn’t fizz anymore will get the carbonic acid out of the solution and make it acceptable as an eye wash.
  • An emergency eyewash bottle should be immediately available in any laboratory where lead acetate is used.

3. Is lead acetate organometallic?

To be an organometallic compound, there must be a metal-carbon bond. Lead acetate is not an organometallic compound as lead is attached to O-atom via an electrovalent bond, i.e., the direct metal-carbon bond is absent. Lead acetate is salt in reality.

4. How to remove lead from the body?

Chelation therapy is the only treatment that can remove lead from the body. In this treatment, the drug given by mouth attaches with the lead. Hence, it’s discharged in the urine. Living in an old house with lead paint or lead pipes can be difficult, but staying aside from lead origins is just as important.

Lead Acetate


Relevant Articles

Butanoic Acid

Butanoic Acid – Structure, Properties, Uses

Butanoic Acid The carboxylic acid, butanoic acid, has the structural …

Butanoic Acid – Structure, Properties, Uses Read More »


What is Iodoform? Characteristics and Uses

Iodoform The formula for Iodoform is CHI3. It is biotic …

What is Iodoform? Characteristics and Uses Read More »

Lattice Energy

Lattice Energy – Explanation, Factors & Formulas

Lattice Energy Lattice energy evaluates the intensity of the ionic …

Lattice Energy – Explanation, Factors & Formulas Read More »


Study Abroad

card img

With Turito Study Abroad

card img

With Turito Study Abroad

card img

Get an Expert Advice from Turito

card img

Get an Expert Advice from Turito


card img

With Turito CAP.


card img

With Turito Coding.


card img

With Turito RoboNinja


card img

1-on-1 tutoring for the undivided attention