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Lead-free piezoelectrics—The environmental and regulatory issues

  • Andrew J. Bell (a1) and Otmar Deubzer (a2)


The search for lead-free alternatives to Pb(Zr,Ti)O3 (PZT) piezoelectric ceramics has become a major topic in functional materials research due to legislation in many countries that restricts the use of lead alloys and compounds in commercial products. This article examines both the necessity for regulation and the impacts those regulations have created in the context of piezoelectric materials. It reviews the toxicity of lead, describes current legislation to control the spread of lead in the environment, and attempts to define the risks associated with the manufacture, use, and disposal of lead-based piezoelectric materials. The consequences of current legislation, both intended and unintended, are examined.



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