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A very simple, ultra-sensitive and highly selective non-extractive spectrophotometric method for the determination of trace amounts of lead using 5,7-dibromo-8-hydroxyquinoline (DBHQ) has been developed. DBHQ reacts in a slightly acidic (0.0006-0.0025 M HCl) aqueous solution with lead (II) in 30% ethanolic media to produce highly absorbent a greenish-yellow chelate which has an absorption maximum at 390 nm. The reaction is instantaneous and the absorbance remains stable for over 24 h. The average molar absorption co-efficient and Sandal’s sensitivity were found to be 6.16 x 105 L mol-1cm-1 and 5 ng cm-2 of lead (II), respectively. Linear calibration graphs were obtained for 0.01- 60.0 mg L-1 of lead (II) having detection limit of 1.0 μg L-1 and RSD 0-2%. The stoichiometric composition of the chelate is 1:2 (Pb: DBHQ). A large excess of over 60 cations, anions and complexing agents (like, chloride, phosphate, azide, tartrate, oxalate, SCN- etc.) do not interfere in the determination. The developed method was successfully used in the determination of lead levels in several Standard Reference Materials (alloys, steels, natural water, bovine liver, human urine and hair) as well as in some environmental waters (potable and polluted), biological samples (human blood, urine and hair), soil samples, food samples (vegetables, rice, wheat) solutions containing both lead (II) and lead (IV) and complex synthetic mixtures. The results of biological and food analyses by the spectrophotometric method were found to be in excellent agreement with those obtained by AAS.