This paper considers the variable isotopic composition of lead as a possible source of systematic errors in proton activation analysis. The importance of this source of error was evaluated for environmental and geological samples. As proton activation analysis is frequently used for the certification of lead, the error was determined for three sediment reference materials. Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry was used for the determination of the isotopic composition of lead. The systematic error amounted for the sediments to approximately 1%.