lead(II) nitrate

Chemical properties

Lead(II) nitrate, a white crystalline solid, is the lead(II) salt of nitric acid. Lead(II) nitrate is a strong oxidizing agent. Unlike other lead salts, it is highly soluble in water. For this reason it is toxic.

Unlike many other lead(II) salts such as lead(II) chloride or lead(II) sulphate, lead(II) nitrate is readily soluble in water.

If lead(II) nitrate is heated up to its decomposition temperature of 470 °C, it decomposes to form nitrogen dioxide, oxygen and lead(II) oxide.

Therefore, this chemical reaction in the laboratory is suitable for forming small amounts of the gas nitrogen dioxide. Because of the release of oxygen, lead(II) nitrate is used as an oxidizing agent in the synthesis of dyes.


Lead (II) nitrate can be easily produced by heating a mixture of lead (II) oxide with dilute nitric acid. On cooling, crystals separate from lead(II) nitrate. Instead of lead(II) oxide you could also use lead.

PbO + 2 HNO3 → Pb(NO3)2 + H2O


Lead(II) nitrate is also used in the production of textile stains, matches, special explosives, etching solutions and for mother-of-pearl dyeing.


Lead nitrate is harmful to health, damaging to fruit and may possibly impair fertility. It can be absorbed through the skin, even if only in negligible quantities. It also poses a risk to the environment because it is toxic to aquatic organisms.