APPENDIX A: DETAILED PROCEDURE FOR PRODUCING
WHITE PHOSPHORUS PARTICLES
SCOPE AND APPLICATION
This procedure is for the production of small particles of white phosphorus that may be
used to spike soil samples.
SUMMARY OF METHOD
White phosphorus particles are produced by melting white phosphorus in warm water,
obtaining microliter droplets of molten white phosphorus, then solidifying the droplets by
cooling the water. Particles ranging from 3 to 25 L (5.5 to 46 mg) may be produced using the
equipment included in this procedure.
White phosphorus is pyrophoric, but will not ignite if it is kept under water. It will also not
inflame if it is cold (< 4C). For this reason, it should be refrigerated at all times, except during
the procedures described below.
White phosphorus is extremely toxic by ingestion (the lowest recorded lethal dose for hu-
mans is 1.4 mg/kg of body weight). Fumes may cause chronic poisoning (TLV 0.1 mg/m ) so
all procedures should be performed in a fume hood. If safety precautions are followed, the
procedure described for making white phosphorus particles is not hazardous.
EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
Glass dish or tray (Wheaton culture dish no. 350135 (200 80 diameter height,
mm) or [Pyrex glass drying tray (200 500 50, length width height, mm)] or
equivalent glass container with flat, wide bottom
Test tubes (13 100 mm) (Kimble 13100 or equivalent), one per particle produced
Beakers (50 mL) (Kimble no. 14000-50 or equivalent), two
Beaker, heavy duty (1000 mL) Kimble no. 14005-1000 or equivalent, one
Petri dish, 100 51 mm (Corning 3160-101BO or equivalent)
Forceps, preferably Teflon coated (Chemware Norton no. A1069288 or equivalent)
Razor blade, single edged carbon steel (Fisher 12-640 or equivalent)
Tongs, safety, with Teflon-coated tips (Aldrich Z11,543-6 or equivalent)
Thermometer, glass, includes range 20 to 100C (Fisherbrand 14-997 or equivalent)
Bottle, wide-mouth, 30 mL, HDPE, (Nalgene 2104-0001 or equivalent), two
Hot plate (Corning 6795-500 or equivalent)
Positive displacement micropipet, capacity 3 to 25 L [Gilson Microman Positive