Lead has been used for many centuries for weighting purposes. Apart from its high density, which enables smaller volumes to be used to provide desired weights, the main advantage of Lead is its durability.
This is particularly relevant in aqueous and marine environments, such as weights for fishing lines and anchors, because iron – itself fairly dense – rapidly corrodes in such environments, unless large additions of alloying materials are used or the weight is covered with a protective coating. Small Lead weights are now banned for hunting and fishing in certain areas because of the risk of birds ingesting them.
Larger weights are still permitted, as are other uses such as in diving belts. Lead weights are also found in many other applications including wheel balances on motor cars, curtain weights, and yacht keels.
Suitability for Recycling – As with other metallic applications, Lead weights can easily be recycled. In practice, the degree of recycling depends on the ease with which the weights can be collected.