© Stuart M Bennett 2002


Yellow phosphorus: Yellow phosphorus is highly poisonous compared with the relatively non- toxic red phosphorus. When used as a rodenticide, yellow phosphorus is usually mixed with molasses or peanut butter and spread on bread as bait for rodents or roaches. For obvious reasons, it is occasionally ingested by children. Yellow phosphorus is most toxic to the gastrointestinal tract and liver. Ingestion is usually followed by vomiting which is said to be luminescent and have a garlicky odour. Delirium, coma and death from cardiovascular collapse may ensue. Use discontinued in the UK.

Yellow phosphorous can be released when heating red phosphorous and whilst red phosphorous is considered to be virtually non-toxic, yellow phosphorous is not. If it is ingested symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or garlic odor on breath will indicate poisoning by the latter. The estimated lethal adult human dose for white phosphorus is 50 - 100 mg.

Chemical Formula: P (phosphorous is an element and considered a true non-metal)

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