Monday, July 16, 2007

The perils of dihydrogen monoxide?

Stumbled across this at this site. I assumed that the story was invented; however, according to, this story is true!
A student at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair. He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide."

And for plenty of good reasons, since:

1. it can cause excessive sweating and vomiting
2. it is a major component in acid rain
3. it can cause severe burns in its gaseous state
4. accidental inhalation can kill you
5. it contributes to erosion
6. it decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes
7. it has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients

He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical.

* Forty-three (43) said yes,
* Six (6) were undecided,
* Only one (1) knew [what "dihydrogen monoxide" really is].

The title of his prize winning project was, "How Gullible Are We?"

He feels the conclusion is obvious.
The author of the petition was Nathan Zohner and this project was a prize winner in 1997.

Zohner was apparently not the first to try and wring some laughter out of the perils of dihydrogen monoxide; Scopes says Zohner's project was based on a bogus report that was already making the rounds on the Internet.

And there may still be people falling for this bit. In fact, Snopes tells how one California municipality, Aliso Viejo, in Orange County, actually scheduled a vote at a March 2004 City Council meeting on an ordinance that would have banned the use of foam containers at city-sponsored events. Among the reasons cited for the proposed ban was that foam containers are made with dihydrogen monoxide -- "DHMO, a substance that could 'threaten human health and safety.'"

No Prize Contest: The first person to correctly identify the common name of dihydrogen monoxide in the Responses section will be acknowledged in a separate post and will also receive a hardy, if virtual, handshake and pat on the back.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...


smiles, bee

katherine. said...

give that woman the prize

Lahdeedah said...

Well, according to the well-renowned and scholastically accurate Wikipedia.....

My in-laws, IN-LAWS, send me warning emails all the time. I check them out on snopes. Soon, I will adopt the habit of my friend, and email them the snopes link...

"Please check all facts before forwarding panic inducing emails..." ooh i'm gonna use that.

Barb said...

Was Bee right? I was going to Google it ;)

Where fibers meet mud said...

di means two mono means one

two hydorgen and one oxygen makes water - I did pay some attention in school on some days...

People are way gullible and I like to play on that when I can. I have had long conversations with the grandchildren about completely fictional events and at the end have to tell them it was all made up. My children recognize the stories and chuckle along as I tell them. Never dull in my world.