The International Lead Association (ILA) is a focused and dynamic organisation dedicated to serving lead producers and other companies that have a direct interest in lead and its use. With resources located in London, North Carolina and Washington we provide a mix of technical, scientific and communications support from staff and specialist consultants including chemists, electrochemists, toxicologists and environmental specialists. The ILA`s roots stem from the Lead Development Association, which was founded in 1946 primarily to support market development. Today our role is much broader and we are very much focused on all aspects of the industry’s safe production, use and recycling of lead.
Lead-based batteries are the dominant market for lead (around 85-90% of all lead use) and ILA is active in supporting the development of lead-based battery technologies through its management role in the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC).
The ILA provides a range of services to support the lead industry’s safe production, use and recycling of lead.
We are involved in the management of significant research programmes and coordinate industry representation in matters concerning regulation and legislation on an industry-wide global level. Regional interests are managed in Europe by ILA-Europe and in North America by The Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR).
We keep a watching brief on emerging scientific issues and maintain an extensive network of contacts to provide access to specialist support in the academic, scientific and consulting communities worldwide.
The ILA also facilitates the dissemination of information and coordinates opportunities for experts to meet on issues of critical importance to the future of the lead industry.
As batteries are now the dominant market for lead use, biennial European Lead Battery Conferences bring together battery manufacturers, suppliers, and scientists to explore the advances continually expanding their scope and versatility. In the intervening years, International Lead Conferences provide a forum for health and environmental specialists to review developments in their fields and anticipate future directions and needs.
- Battery powered vehicles such as fork lift trucks are non-polluting, quiet and low on maintenance costs
- A lead acid battery is a vital component in each of the 60 million petrol and diesel vehicles produced worldwide each year
- Hospitals, the emergency services, telephone exchanges and public buildings rely on lead-acid batteries as back-up in case of mains power failure
- 80% of modern lead usage is in the production of batteries of which more than 95% are recycled
- A lead roof will outlast any other traditional building material, sometimes by hundreds of years
- As a barrier to radiation, lead is unrivalled and essential in hospitals, dentists’ surgeries, laboratories and nuclear installations
- Since 2000 the lead industry has sponsored over US$3 million of independent research into the health and environmental impacts of lead
Lead is integral to our modern lifestyle. Whilst its malleability and corrosion resistance still make it useful for roof flashings and cladding, the main benefits are derived from harnessing lead’s chemical properties.
Its incredible density provides unrivalled protection from radiation and is essential to staff working in hospitals, dental surgeries, laboratories and nuclear installations. Lead stabilisers are added to some PVC products to improve durability, and the metal protects thousands of kilometres of underwater power and communications cables.
Keeping the world on the move in so many ways wouldn’t be possible without the lead used in battery technology. Lead acid batteries are the mainstay of storage technologies for renewable energy sources, such as solar cell and wind turbines and are used to power cars, trucks, buses, motorbikes, electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. Furthermore, lead acid batteries are vital as a back-up emergency power supply in case of mains power failure in hospitals, telephone exchanges, mobile phone networks, public buildings and for the emergency services.
Today, lead is truly a modern metal, supporting a modern world.
Lead enjoys one of the highest recycling rates of all materials in common use today. This is a result of its fundamental properties, good design and the ways in which it is used, which make lead-based products easily identifiable and economic to collect and recycle.
As a result, over half of the lead produced and used each year throughout the world has been used before in other products. What is more, because lead is a naturally occurring element, the quality of the recycled lead is identical to that of primary metal from mining.
The use of lead has evolved over the years, with a significant growth in recyclable uses. Today about 85% of lead is used in lead batteries, all of which are recoverable and recyclable. Europe and North America have a battery recycling rate close to 100% – and most others share the possibility of 100% recyclability.