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Phosphorus is a chemical element that is extremely reactive and highly toxic. Despite this, most people interact with this element–in phosphorus compounds--on a daily basis. How can this be? Well, phosphorus is peculiar in that its structure causes it to make very strong bonds with other elements. This means that it appears in many types of compounds, and these compounds have many practical uses.
The most common use of these compounds is in fertilizer. Phosphorus is actually one of the most important elements for plants. A different compound of phosphorous is used in matches. This is red phosphorus, as white phosphorus can be deadly to humans. Ironically, phosphorus compound can also be used as a flame-retardant for flammable materials.
Some high-temperature lubricants have compounds of phosphorus, as do some water treatment and metal treatment products. Water treatments use phosphorus to help remove unwanted metal salts from the water or to convert hard water to soft water. Metal treatments are used for phosphatizing, which provides an insoluble coating to many metals.
Compounds of phosphorous can also be found in some household items. Cavity protection and tartar control toothpaste both contain one of these compounds. Certain shampoos, soaps, and deodorants also have this element.
For more information about phosphorus compounds and their uses, visit Business.com and click on the links on the left.