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phosphorus

Pronunciation: fos'fo-rus

Definition: A nonmetallic chemical element, atomic no. 15, atomic wt. 30.973762, occurring extensively in nature, always in compounds such as phosphates and phosphites and as the phosphate in every living cell; the elemental form is extremely poisonous, causing intense inflammation and fatty degeneration; repeated inhalation of phosphorus fumes may cause necrosis of the jaw (phosphonecrosis); the approximate fatal dose is 50–100 mg.

[G. phosphoros, fr. phos, light, + phoros, bearing]

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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