The common name for a heavy, opaque, orange-red pigment composed of lead tetroxide. Although chemically equivalent to the mineral minium, red lead has been synthetically prepared by roasting lead white (480 C) since before the 5th century BCE. Red lead has been found as a pigment on early objects from Egypt, China, Japan, India, Persia, and Rome. Red lead is no longer used as an artists color because is has poor light stability and poor working properties. Instead, red lead is used to color glass and ceramic glazes. Red lead paint was used as an anticorrosion primer for structural iron and steel until the late 20th century.
Synonyms and Related Terms
red lead oxide; lead tetroxide; Pigment Red 105; CI 77578; minium (Fr., Lt.); minimium secondarium; plumbus plumbate; Mennige (Deut.); Bleimennige (Deut.); minium de plomb (Fr.); mønje (Dan.); minio (Esp., Gr.); minio (cerussa usta) (It.); minio di piombo (It.); entan (Jap.); tan (Jap.); loodmenie (Ned.); vermelho de chumbo (Port.); mínio (Port.); orange lead; Paris red; Saturn red; saturnine red; orange mineral; burnt white lead; red oxide of lead; mineral red; false sandarach; sandyx; syricum
Discolors with acids (nitric acid - brown, sulfuric acid and sulfides - black, hydrochloic acid - white).
Fine particles that are a transparent orange red. Low birefringence.
|Molecular Weight||mol. wt. = 685.60|
Hazards and Safety
Toxic by inhalation or ingestion. Skin contact may cause irritation or ulcers.
Carcinogen, teratogen, suspected mutagen.
Discolored by exposure to light, hydrogen sulfide and acids.
Mallinckrodt Baker: MSDS
° E. West-Fitzhugh, "Red Lead and Minium", Artists Pigments, Volume 1, R. Feller (ed.), Cambridge University Press; Cambridge, 1986.
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- The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
- R.Feller, M.Curran, C.Bailie, 'Identification of Traditional Organic Colorants Employed in Japanese Prints and Determination of their Rates of Fading', Japanese Woodblock Prints, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, 1984
- Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online, http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/aat/, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000
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- Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993