Phosphorus bombs: what is it and how to protect yourself

(ORDO NEWS) — White phosphorus is a colorless to yellow translucent flammable waxy substance with a pungent garlic odor. Therefore, it is stored under water, in sealed vessels and with minimal lighting.

Phosphorus bombs are ammunition filled with snow-white phosphorus. This is a flammable substance. It is highly flammable on contact with oxygen. Its combustion temperature is about 800 °C.

The use of phosphorus bombs is prohibited by the Geneva Convention for the Protection of War Victims (protocol since 1977) and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

When exposed to human skin, white phosphorus causes severe chemical burns. The lethal dose is 0.05-0.15 g. White phosphorus can cause damage to bones and bone marrow, as well as tissue necrosis. In addition, a person receives not just burns, but deep wounds.

First aid for white phosphorus

1. As soon as possible, it is worth getting rid of clothes to which particles of flaming white phosphorus have stuck. If this is not possible, then dip the affected skin and clothing in water or moisten it heavily.

2. When you get rid of your clothes, wash the affected skin with sodium bicarbonate solution (baking soda) or cold water.

3. Moisten the skin and remove visible phosphorus particles (preferably under water) with a non-sharp object or tweezers. Do not touch phosphorus with your fingers!

4. Burns should be covered with wet dressings. They must be soaked in saline to prevent the phosphorus from re-igniting.

If phosphorus enters the body through the mouth, it causes burns to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. A person feels a strong burning sensation in the mouth, suffers from vomiting, diarrhea and severe pain in the abdomen.

Special medical personnel should treat the wounded with phosphorus ammunition.

Helpful Hints

  • If phosphorus has got on objects, they can be extinguished by abundantly pouring water or falling asleep with sand or soil until oxygen stops flowing to the phosphorus.
  • Do not touch phosphorus particles on skin or clothing with your hands.
  • If possible, immerse the injured body part in water. It is necessary to abundantly water or moisten the skin and clothes with water where there are drops of phosphorus.
  • Never use cotton wool and hydrogen peroxide! When the peroxide breaks down, water and oxygen are formed. Oxygen ignites phosphorus.
  • If a person who has received phosphorus burns is conscious, he should be given some painkillers and sedatives.
  • When burning, phosphorus also emits toxic fumes. To remove toxic substances from the body, any sorbent should be taken.
  • Drink plenty of water, you can also use milk and alkaline non-carbonated water.


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