Phosphorus, Elemental

CAS RN: 7723-14-0

Exposure Summary

Phosphorus' production and use in the synthesis of phosphate compounds, in flame retardants, in semiconductors, for smoke screens, and for the striking surface for matches may result in its release to the environment through various waste streams. Phosphorus' former production and use as a pesticide may have resulted in its direct release to the environment. The abundance of phosphorus in the earth's crust is about 0.12%. Phosphorus does not occur freely in nature. It is found in the form of phosphates in minerals and in small quantities in granite rocks. It occurs in all fertile soil and is an essential constituent of protoplasm, nervous tissue, and bones. At ambient temperatures white phosphorus spontaneously ignites when exposed to air. Occupational exposure to phosphorus may occur through inhalation and dermal contact with this compound at workplaces where phosphorus is produced or used. Phosphorus pesticide exposure should be low or non-existent since phosphorus is no longer produced or used in the US as a pesticide (Spring, 1998). (SRC)
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