Abstract The objective of the present research was to synthesize, characterize and to investigate the removal efficiency of lead (II) ion from synthetic lead solution by a hybrid fibrous ion exchanger. In the present study polycinnamamide thorium (IV) phosphate was synthesized by co-precipitation method and was characterized using SEM, XRD, FTIR and TGA–DSC. To know the practical applicability, a detailed removal study of lead ion was carried out using the material. The removal of lead was 81.2% under optimum conditions. Adsorption kinetic study revealed that the adsorption process followed first order kinetics. Adsorption data were fitted to linearly transformed Langmuir isotherm with R 2 (correlation coefficient) >0.99. Thermodynamic parameters were also calculated to study the effect of temperature on the removal process. In order to understand the adsorption type, equilibrium data were tested with Dubinin–Radushkevich isotherm.