Experimental and predicted thermochemical constants are used to assess the formation and stability of lead phosphates in soil and sedimentary environments. For the chemical conditions likely to be encountered in oxidizing environments, the stability fields of pyromorphites [Pb 5(PO 4) 3X, X = OH -, Cl -, Br - and F -] and plumbogummite [PbAl 3(PO 4) 2(OH) 5-H 2O] predominate strongly over those of the other secondary lead minerals. The theoretical phase relationships together with several field observations are used as the basis for suggesting that the interaction of lead and phosphorus (to form pyromorphites and plumbogummite in particular) is an important buffer mechanism controlling the migration and fixation of lead in the environment. Calculations using the concentrations of lead and phosphate ions in serum indicate that the solubility of lead phosphates may be the limiting factor with regard to lead ion concentration in human body. The removal of lead from wastewater by precipitation as lead chloropyromorphite is considered a spin-off of possible industrial interest.