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Record Information
Version2.0
Creation Date2009-03-06 18:57:56 UTC
Update Date2014-12-24 20:20:53 UTC
Accession NumberT3D0019
Identification
Common NameWhite Phosphorus
ClassSmall Molecule
DescriptionWhite phosphorus is a colorless, white, or yellow waxy solid with a garlic-like odor. It does not occur naturally, but is manufactured from phosphate rocks. White phosphorus reacts rapidly with oxygen, easily catching fire at temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above room temperature. White phosphorus is used by the military in various types of ammunition, and to produce smoke for concealing troop movements and identifying targets. It is also used by industry to produce phosphoric acid and other chemicals for use in fertilizers, food additives, and cleaning compounds. Small amounts of white phosphorus were used in the past in pesticides and fireworks. Exposure to white phosphorus may come through working at a facility where white phosphorus is manufactured, breathing contaminated air near a facility that is using white phosphorus, eating contaminated fish or game birds or drinking or swimming in water that has been contaminated with white phosphorus, or touching soil contaminated with white phosphorus. Little information is available about the health effects that may be caused by white phosphorus. Most of what is known about the effects of breathing white phosphorus is from studies of workers. Most of what is known about the effects of eating white phosphorus is from reports of people eating rat poison or fireworks that contained it. Breathing white phosphorus for short periods may cause coughing and irritation of the throat and lungs. Breathing white phosphorus for long periods may cause a condition known as 'phossy jaw' which involves poor wound healing of the mouth and breakdown of the jaw bone. Eating or drinking small amounts of white phosphorus may cause liver, heart, or kidney damage, vomiting, stomach cramps, drowsiness, or death. The effects of chronic ingestion are unknown. Skin contact with burning white phosphorus may burn skin or cause liver, heart, and kidney damage. It is not known whether white phosphorus affects fertility or causes birth defects. There are no studies linking white phosphorus to cancer in humans or animals. (6)
Compound Type
  • Industrial/Workplace Toxin
  • Inorganic Compound
  • Non-Metal
  • Pollutant
  • Synthetic Compound
Chemical Structure
Thumb
Synonyms
Synonym
Phosphorus
Tetraphosphorus
White phosphorus
Willie Pete
Willy Pete
WP
Yellow phosphorus
Chemical FormulaP4
Average Molecular Mass123.895 g/mol
Monoisotopic Mass123.895 g/mol
CAS Registry Number12185-10-3
IUPAC Nametricyclo[1.1.0.0²,⁴]tetraphosphane
Traditional Namephosphorus
SMILESP12P3P1P23
InChI IdentifierInChI=1S/P4/c1-2-3(1)4(1)2
InChI KeyInChIKey=OBSZRRSYVTXPNB-UHFFFAOYSA-N
Chemical Taxonomy
DescriptionThis compound belongs to the class of chemical entities known as homogeneous other non-metal compounds. These are inorganic non-metallic compounds in which the largest atom belongs to the class of 'other non-metals'.
KingdomChemical entities
Super ClassInorganic compounds
ClassHomogeneous non-metal compounds
Sub ClassHomogeneous other non-metal compounds
Direct ParentHomogeneous other non-metal compounds
Alternative ParentsNot Available
Substituents
  • Homogeneous other non metal
Molecular FrameworkNot Available
External Descriptors
Biological Properties
StatusDetected and Not Quantified
OriginExogenous
Cellular Locations
  • Mitochondria
  • Rough endoplasmic reticulum
Biofluid LocationsNot Available
Tissue Locations
  • Heart
  • Intestine
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Skin
PathwaysNot Available
Applications
Biological RolesNot Available
Chemical RolesNot Available
Physical Properties
StateSolid
AppearanceTranslucent waxy solid that quickly becomes yellow when exposed to light. Glows greenish in the dark when exposed to oxygen.
Experimental Properties
PropertyValue
Melting Point44.15°C
Boiling Point280°C
Solubility0.0033 mg/mL at 15°C [KIRK-OTHMER; on-line (2005)]
LogPNot Available
Predicted Properties
PropertyValueSource
logP1.32ChemAxon
pKa (Strongest Basic)7.18ChemAxon
Physiological Charge1ChemAxon
Hydrogen Acceptor Count0ChemAxon
Hydrogen Donor Count0ChemAxon
Polar Surface Area0 Å2ChemAxon
Rotatable Bond Count0ChemAxon
Refractivity27.34 m3·mol-1ChemAxon
Polarizability5.77 Å3ChemAxon
Number of Rings3ChemAxon
Bioavailability1ChemAxon
Rule of FiveYesChemAxon
Ghose FilterYesChemAxon
Veber's RuleYesChemAxon
MDDR-like RuleYesChemAxon
Spectra
Spectra
Spectrum TypeDescriptionSplash Key
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 10V, Positivesplash10-00di-0900000000-554ba802daa412f7566bView in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 20V, Positivesplash10-00di-0900000000-554ba802daa412f7566bView in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 40V, Positivesplash10-00di-0900000000-554ba802daa412f7566bView in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 10V, Negativesplash10-00di-0900000000-ed7439d5980f85d06abaView in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 20V, Negativesplash10-00di-0900000000-ed7439d5980f85d06abaView in MoNA
Predicted LC-MS/MSPredicted LC-MS/MS Spectrum - 40V, Negativesplash10-00di-0900000000-ed7439d5980f85d06abaView in MoNA
Toxicity Profile
Route of ExposureInhalation; dermal; ingestion. (2)
Mechanism of ToxicityExposure to white phosphorus has been shown to damage the rough endoplasmic reticulum and cause a disaggregation of polyribosomes. This damage results in impairment of protein synthesis, in particular, a decrease in the synthesis of the apolipoprotein portion of very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), which are required for the transport of triglycerides. This causes an accumulation of triglycerides in the liver, resulting in steatosis and fibrosis. White phosphorus also damages the mitochondia, impairing a cell’s ability to produce ATP and resulting in necrosis. The mitochondrial damage may also inhibit fatty acid oxidation, which could result in an accumulation of fat in the organs. (2)
MetabolismSince white phosphorus is highly reactive in the presence of oxygen, it is likely rapidly converted to its oxidation products prior to absorption into the body. Little is known about the metabolism of white phosphorus in the body, although the oxo acids of phophorus are known to be found in the bloodstream.
Toxicity ValuesLD50 Rat (Charles-River, female) oral 3.03 mg/kg (2) LD50 Rat (Charles-River, male) oral 3.76 mg/kg (2) LD50 Mouse (Swiss, female) oral 4.82 mg/kg (2) LD50 Mouse (Swiss, male) oral 4.85 mg/kg (2)
Lethal Dose1 mg/kg body weight (5)
Carcinogenicity (IARC Classification)No indication of carcinogenicity to humans (not listed by IARC).
Uses/SourcesWhite phosphorus does not occur naturally, but is manufactured from phosphate rocks. White phosphorus is used in many military applications, especially in smokescreens, bombs, artillery, and mortars. It is also used by industry to produce phosphoric acid and other chemicals for use in fertilizers, food additives, and cleaning compounds. Small amounts of white phosphorus were used in the past in pesticides and fireworks. (2)
Minimum Risk LevelAcute Inhalation: 0.02 mg/m3 (4) Intermediate Oral: 0.0002 mg/kg/day (4)
Health EffectsExposure to white phosphorus may cause liver, heart, or kidney damage. It can also result in death. Breathing white phosphorus for long periods may cause a condition known as 'phossy jaw', which involves poor wound healing of the mouth and breakdown of the jaw bone. Anemia and leukopenia in people chronically exposed to airborne white phosphorus. (2)
SymptomsBreathing white phosphorus for short periods may cause coughing and irritation of the throat and lungs. Eating or drinking small amounts of white phosphorus may cause stomach cramps, or drowsiness. (2)
TreatmentIngestion of white phosphorus can be treated with gastric lavage. Otherwise, treatment is mainly symptomatic. (2)
Normal Concentrations
Not Available
Abnormal Concentrations
Not Available
DrugBank IDNot Available
HMDB IDNot Available
PubChem Compound IDNot Available
ChEMBL IDNot Available
ChemSpider ID109894
KEGG IDNot Available
UniProt IDNot Available
OMIM ID
ChEBI ID35895
BioCyc IDNot Available
CTD IDNot Available
Stitch IDPhosphorus, white
PDB IDNot Available
ACToR IDNot Available
Wikipedia LinkAllotropes_of_phosphorus#White_phosphorus
References
Synthesis ReferenceNot Available
MSDST3D0019.pdf
General References
  1. Doyle ME, Jan de Beur SM: The skeleton: endocrine regulator of phosphate homeostasis. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2008 Dec;6(4):134-41. [19032923 ]
  2. ATSDR - Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (1997). Toxicological profile for white phosphorus. U.S. Public Health Service in collaboration with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). [Link]
  3. Wikipedia. Allotropes of phosphorus. Last Updated 30 March 2009. [Link]
  4. ATSDR - Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (2001). Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs) for Hazardous Substances. U.S. Public Health Service in collaboration with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). [Link]
  5. HSDB: Hazardous Substances Data Bank. National Library of Medicine (2001). [Link]
  6. ATSDR - Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (1997). ToxFAQ for white phosphorus. [Link]
Gene Regulation
Up-Regulated GenesNot Available
Down-Regulated GenesNot Available