Hidden Perils of Lead in the Lab: Guidelines for Containing, Monitoring, and Decontaminating Lead in the Context of Perovskite Research

Michael Salvador, Christopher E. Motter, Iain McCulloch
Chemistry of Materials, (2020)


Anatomy, Testing and assessment, Contamination, Safety, Perovskites


​The metal lead is an integral part of mainstream perovskite solar cells. Lead-based compounds in the form of lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are known to potentially trigger long lasting health implications when exposure surpasses certain limits and lead is accumulated in the human body. Because it is not clear what the health implications are of lead that is processed in the context of perovskite research and no organization has published specific directives, we have established a set of instructions for lead safety in perovskite research laboratories. The instructions include best practices for handling, containing, monitoring, and decontaminating lead-based materials. Importantly, it is shown that lead can be contained best by adopting strict cleaning and housekeeping protocols, while decontamination can be accomplished with conventional detergents. Reliable testing of contamination levels requires periodic chemical analysis such as ICP (inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy). Conversely, simple lead tests that are currently on the market can lead to misleading assessment. We further recommend periodic medical surveillance in the form of blood lead level testing to ensure the well-being of lab users. The directives described here were established such that they can be easily adopted by any lab working on perovskite research.




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