Lead is determined in environmental samples and in rocks using the206,207,208Pb(p,xn)206Bi reaction. Bismuth is separated by anion exchange or by extraction with antimony diethyldithiocarbamate. Sources of errors such as volatilization of the matrix due to heating during the irradiation, variations of the abundance of the lead isotopes and the standardization were studied in detail. For concentrations between 11 mg/g and 3.7 g/g the relative standard deviation ranges from 2.6 to 5.4%. The detection limit is 10 ng/g.