At room temperature, phosphorus is a red, white or colorless solid. White phosphorus is poisonous, ignites spontaneously in air and has a waxy texture. Touching it causes burns. Red phosphorus is non-toxic and not as flammable as white phosphorus. Pure phosphorus is both colorless and transparent.
Phosphorus is a reactive element with the atomic number of 15. Despite its reactivity, it is a mineral that is necessary to life and is a component of teeth and bones as well as RNA, DNA and ATP. Red phosphorus is found on match heads. The element is also used as fertilizer and to make steel and incendiary devices.