Lead is a heavy, low-value metal available only from galena ore. It can be forged into furniture and "other objects", like most metals, but its low value means it is a poor choice for personal objects while its high weight makes it a poor choice for anything portable. Lead is semi-useful for decorating objects and training metal crafters; lead crafts may be traded for a value of 100☼ or more depending upon quality. Lead is not magma safe or even fire safe and will melt in a grass fire
Lead items (or items made of another heavy material) tend to stay close to their original position upon reclaim or arrival in adventure mode. So if you want to find the item easily, make it out of lead, or place it in a lead bin.
Lead can also be used to make massive minecarts to send crashing into goblin invaders. What fun!
Lead is a component of the alloy lay pewter.
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Since lead poisoning does not (yet) exist in Dwarf Fortress, trading lead barrels and crafts only weighs down the caravan. This unfortunately eliminates the possibility of lead poisoning the elves or humans through trade of lead-based crafts and lead-laced alcohol. However, if your dwarves happen to be irradiated as a result of an unfortunate accident, lead coffins are a safe and practical way to ensure the remains are properly contained.