World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Phossy jaw

Article Id: WHEBN0000439554
Reproduction Date:

Title: Phossy jaw  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Phosphorus, Match, John Edvard Lundström, London matchgirls strike of 1888, Ronson (company)
Collection: Occupational Diseases, Osteonecrosis, Phosphorus
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Phossy jaw

Phossy jaw, formally phosphorus necrosis of the jaw, is an occupational disease of those who work with white phosphorus, also known as yellow phosphorus, without proper safeguards. It was most commonly seen in workers in the match industry in the 19th and early 20th century. Modern occupational hygiene practices have eliminated the working conditions which caused this disease.


  • Symptoms and treatment 1
  • Match industry 2
  • Links to bisphosphonates 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Symptoms and treatment

Those with phossy jaw would begin suffering painful discharge.

Match industry

White phosphorus was the active ingredient of most matches from the 1840s to the 1910s and exposure to the vapour from this caused a deposition of phosphorus in the jaw bones[3] of workers in the industry. Concern over phossy jaw contributed to the London matchgirls strike of 1888, and although this strike did not end the use of white phosphorus, William Booth and The Salvation Army opened a match-making factory in 1891 which used the much safer, though more expensive, red phosphorus.[4] The Salvation Army also campaigned with local retailers to get them to sell only red phosphorus matches.[4]

However it was not until the use of white phosphorus was prohibited by the international Berne Convention in 1906, and these provisions were implemented in national laws over the next few years, that industrial use ceased.[5]

Links to bisphosphonates

A related condition, bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw (BON), has been described as a side-effect of amino-bisphosphonates, a class of phosphorus-based drugs that inhibit bone resorption and are used widely for treating osteoporosis, bone disease in cancer and some other conditions.[6] BON, sometimes called "bis-phossy jaw",[7] is primarily associated with the use of intravenous bisphosphonates in the treatment of cancer. The percentage incidence of BON from this use is approximately 1000 times higher than the incidence of BON caused by the use of oral bisphosphonates.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Workshops of Horror". New Zealand Department of Labour. 
  2. ^ Zosia Chustecka (2005). "Bisphosphonates and jaw osteonecrosis". Medscape. 
  3. ^ Marx RE (November 2008). "Uncovering the cause of "phossy jaw" Circa 1858 to 1906: oral and maxillofacial surgery closed case files-case closed".  
  4. ^ a b Fact and Fiction Archived August 19, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Phossy jaw
  6. ^ Durie BG, Katz M, Crowley J (July 2005). "Osteonecrosis of the jaw and bisphosphonates".  
  7. ^ Mario Abu-Id et al. "'Bis-phossy jaws' – High and low risk factors for bisphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis of the jaw". Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Plastic Surgery, Asklepios Klinik Nord, Hamburg, Germany. Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery. 04/2008; 36(2):95-103. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcms.2007.06.008
  8. ^ Cartsos VM, Zhu S, Zavras AI (January 2008). "Bisphosphonate use and the risk of adverse jaw outcomes: a medical claims study of 714,217 people". J Am Dent Assoc 139 (1): 23–30.  

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.