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White phosphorus. - Case Study Example

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The white phosphorous or WP is mainly used for military purposes. White phosphorous munitions were extensively used by American, Commonwealth, and Japanese forces during the World War II. Recently, US forces used WP against enemy areas at Fallujah in 2004. In addition to military purposes, WP is used in a number of products ranging from soft drinks to toothpastes. At the same time, the WP has many dreadful effects also as it may cause injuries and even deaths. This paper will examine how the use of WP causes adverse impacts on the populations across the globe. Applications of WP The WP is extensively used in tracer, smoke, illumination, and incendiary munitions. Different applications of WP are briefly described below. 1. Incendiary munitions Military forces across the world widely use WP as it is a pyrophoric material which is rapidly oxidized into phosphorous pentoxide when exposed to air. As a result of this reaction, large heat is produced simultaneously with dense white smoke. White phosphorous burning results in painful injuries, which would take long time to recover. Often, the white phosphorous burning would be deep, multiple, and variable in size. ...
In addition, this substance plays a crucial role in the production of phosphorous bronze, steels, and many other products. Dreadfulness of White Phosphorous White phosphorous may cause injuries and sometimes even death. A WP weapon’s initial explosion may release incandescent particles which may in turn produce extensive second and

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third degree burns. The element has an increased tendency to stick to the skin. In the case of phosphorous burns, further phosphorous particles are absorbed into the body though the burned area; this dreadful condition may result in heart, liver, and kidney damage. Similarly, combustion of phosphorous produces dense white smoke that contains higher amount of phosphorous pentoxide. When people exposed to heavy phosphorous smoke concentrations for a longer period, it may cause illness or even death. Scientific studies have proven that white phosphorous smoke may harmfully affect the eyes, respiratory tract, and mucous membranes of the nose. Oral ingestion is another serious issue associated with white phosphorous usage. According to Racine, Walsh, Roebuck, Collins, Calkins, Reitsma, Buchli, and Goldfarb (1992), approximately 1,000 to 2,000 migrating dabbling ducks and 10 to 50 swans are yearly killed in Alaska as a result of oral ingestion of white phosphorous. Likewise, recent studies show that toxicity of white phosphorous may cause environmental damage. “Other potential problems with white phosphorous are that decomposition products are poorly defined and that white phosphorous has the potential to bioaccumulate in organisms higher in the food chain” (Noyes, 1996, p.188). Evidently, military applications of white phosphorous have more fatal effects. For the last decade different countries have
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Summary

White phosphorous is a chemical substance which ignites and burns while exposed to oxygen, and consequently generates dense white smoke. This substance is made from an allotrope of the chemical element phosphorous. The white phosphorous or WP is mainly used for military purposes…
White phosphorus. Case study
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