The incidence of phosphorus poisoning has decreased greatly in recent years, if the number of cases reported in European and American journals is taken as an index of its frequency. Undoubtedly the decrease is due mainly to the prohibition of the manufacture and sale of yellow phosphorus matches. In China and in Japan, where the use of yellow phosphorus matches is widespread, the number of cases of phosphorus poisoning is increasing.1 In this country there are still two easily available sources of yellow phosphorus, certain brands of rat and roach paste and certain types of fireworks. Both of these constitute a special menace to children.
Phosphorus paste is occasionally resorted to for suicidal purposes,2 is used as an abortifacient,3 or is ingested accidentally.4 We have found two records of accidental poisoning of small children by this agent, one with recovery5 and one fatal case.6