Lead ballast was often used in boats, ships, and other marine vessels for many years due to its high density. However, lead ballast is not the best permanent ballast choice for several reasons:
Toxicity: Lead is a toxic metal that can cause serious health problems when ingested or inhaled. Therefore, when working with lead extensive safety precautions are required for safe handling including the use of a half-mask respirator.
Environmental concerns: Lead is a non-biodegradable material that can persist in the environment for hundreds of years. When lead ballast is used in maritime structures, it can leach into the water, posing a grave threat to marine life and their entire ecosystem.
Maintenance: Lead ballast requires regular maintenance to prevent corrosion and deterioration. Over time, lead ballast can break down and release harmful lead particles.
Cost prohibitive: Utilizing lead ballast can require significant hull penetrations and the construction of a containment bin. A vessel that employs lead ballast often needs to install expensive cathodic protection. Additionally, lead ballast will likely need to be replaced over the vessel's lifespan.
In contrast, Ballast Technologies Perma Ballast® material uses only non-toxic, chemically inert, and environmentally safe material. Since we developed the Perma Ballast® system in the 1980’s, BTI has demonstrated that Perma Ballast® solid ballast provides the most reliable and cost-effective way to improve the stability of vessels and offshore structures.