August 23, 1976

Phosphorus Poisoning-Reply

Author Affiliations

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School Houston
Bowling Green, Ohio

JAMA. 1976;236(8):918-919. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270090014013

Jackson's letter discusses several divergent opinions in relation to our original article. There is a marked disagreement between EPA labeling regulations, National Pest Control Association good conduct practice statement, and the instructions printed on the label of a readily available paste. The instructions state: "apply rat paste on bread, cheese, or other food they (rodents) will eat." Cautions are recommended on the label but are not always followed by the public.

A survey of multiple supermarkets, which are members of various local and national chains in the Houston area, showed that rat paste containing yellow phosphorus was available for purchase by the general public in all the stores that were contacted. This current public availability of toxic rat paste is supported by the occurrence of our reported cases during the spring of 1975.

We appreciate Dr Jackson's differentiation of zinc phosphide from yellow phosphorus; however, both compounds manifest