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Toxicological information

Direct observations: clinical cases, poisoning incidents and other

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direct observations: clinical cases, poisoning incidents and other
Type of information:
experimental study
Adequacy of study:
weight of evidence
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
other: Published report of human poisoning

Data source

Reference Type:
study report

Materials and methods

Study type:
poisoning incident
Endpoint addressed:
acute toxicity: oral
Test guideline
no guideline followed
Principles of method if other than guideline:
The paper describes a human suicidal intoxication with yellow phosphorus
GLP compliance:

Test material

Test material form:
Details on test material:
Elemental phosphorus is often referred to as yellow phsophorus
Specific details on test material used for the study:
Impure white phosphorus is also referred to as yellow phosphorus.


Type of population:
19 year old female student
Ethical approval:
not applicable
Route of exposure:
Reason of exposure:
Details on exposure:
The female human ingested about 10 g yellow phosphorus strand from a chemistry laboratory to commit suicide at about 02:00 hrs.
Blood pressure
Medical treatment:
The subject was admitted to hospital approximately 5 hours after ingesting the substance (07:00 hrs) and remained in hospital until her death, approximately 50 hours after ingestion.

Results and discussion

Clinical signs:
Repeated vomiting, dizziness, nausea, bradychardia, low blood pressure, intestinal spasms and respiratory failure.
Results of examinations:
No information available.
Effectivity of medical treatment:
The patient died.
Outcome of incidence:
The patient died.

Any other information on results incl. tables

Vomit and faeces ignited spontaneously in air, and a chair was ignited in the intensive care unit. Initially the patient vomited repeatedly (the vomit ignited in air), at which point she was admitted to hospital. After hospital admission, the patient showed no further symptoms except vomiting and blood pressure was stable at 120/60 mm Hg. She was then admitted to a psychiatric ward at 12:00 hrs. During the evening and night she complained of dizziness and nausea, blood pressure was stable at 130/75. The condition of the patient then deteriorated. The following night (2 days after initial ingestion) the blood pressure fell to 90/60, there were intestinal spasms and respiratory failure. She was admitted to the intensive care unit, she exhibited gasping and bradychardia. The patient was intubated and received pacemaker therapy and emergency infusion. Treatment was unsuccessful and the patient died 1 hour later, approximately 50 hours after initial ingestions.

Applicant's summary and conclusion

The oral ingestion of phosphorus proved fatal.
Executive summary:

A case of suicidal intoxication with yellow phosphorus was studied. The clinical course showed the typical three stages including a symptom free period, although death occurred within 50 hours from acute toxic damage of the myocardium.