Hazard Description


Lead is a metal used in many applications. Highly resistant to corrosion, it has long been used for the manufacture of water pipes and as a paint pigment (white lead) despite its toxicity. At CERN lead is usually used as shielding material.

Lead is classified as toxic to reproduction and to organs and harmful to aquatic life.



  • Health risks related to lead are:
    • Inhalation of lead dust, fumes or vapours;
    • Ingestion of lead dust;

Lead dust is not absorbed through the skin.

Prevention measures are based on the general principles of prevention and must comply with the provisions specific to chemical agents CMR. Their goal is to reduce worker exposure to the lowest technically possible level.

CERN Safety Rules

The CERN safety documents concerning lead hazard, handling and storage are the following:

Safety Officer Role

We organize risk assessment and lead sampling, implementation of lead safety measures, and help for evacuation of lead.

We bring our support if you have non-used lead. What to do if you find lead?

Contact Safety Office ep-adso@cern.ch

  1. Before any removal of lead, its residual radioactivity must be measured by a Radiation Protection Officer. A TREC should be done in order to ask for a measurement.

  2. The lead is then packed by the user / owner according to the recommendation of the HSE-OHS unit expert, with the help of the radiation protection technician if it is radioactive.

  3. Radioactive lead bricks / items shall be declared as Radioactive Waste and shall be packed in compliance with the Radioactive Waste Acceptance Criteria (CADRA): EDMS 1364231

  4. Non-radioactive lead in good condition will be stored in Building 940. The user/owner will handle the lead and pack it in plastic bags or Big Bags 13H3Y, on a plastic palet.

Non-radioactive lead for waste will be sent to building 133

      Guideline for usage

      The following PPE must be worn when handling or stacking lead bricks:

      • Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), e.g.  mask with a P3 filter, (e.g. from CERN Catalogue, SCEM no. 50.49.20.BD when handling exceeds one hour,

      • Suitable gloves, which must also be robust and offer the required grip and dexterity to handle the bricks (e.g. from CERN Catalogue, SCEM no. 50.43.20.BE),

      • Safety shoes.


      For further information about lead at CERN, please contact: