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Should we ban Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO)?

Should we ban Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO)?

We are regularly told that there are many dangerous chemicals which are a risk to our health, to the environment, and to the world in general. So today I would like to ask the question: should we ban Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO)?

Now you maybe asking what is DHMO? Well, DHMO is is a colourless and odourless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, this free radical has been shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as sulphuric acid, nitroglycerine and ethyl alcohol.

Should we be concerned about DHMO? Well, yes, although Dihydrogen Monoxide has not be classified as a toxic or carcinogenic substance (as better known chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid and benzene, have been), DHMO is a constituent of many known toxic substances, disease-causing agents, environmental hazards and can even be lethal to humans in quantities as small as a 100ml. Now more than ever, it is important that we are aware of just what the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide are and how we can reduce the risks to ourselves and others.

Just how dangerous is Dihydrogen Monoxide? DHMO kills thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes burning and can severely damage tissues. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.

Not only is Dihydrogen Monoxide hazardous to individuals, it is known to have major effects on the environment as well. In its hydroxyl acid form, it is the major component of acid rain. DHMO is known to have an effect on global warming, and it contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape. It has recently caused billions of pounds worth of damage around the world. There is known to be wide spread environmental contamination by Dihydrogen Monoxide in global ecosystems, it has been found in lakes, rivers and oceans across the world.

Despite all these known dangers, dihydrogen monoxide is often used as an industrial solvent and coolant. It is commonly used in nuclear power stations, indeed its presence was an important factor in the failure of the Fukushima power station in Japan. Despite these dangers, DHMO continues to be used in many industrial processes: in the production of Styrofoam, as a fire retardant, in the distribution of pesticides, and as an additive in certain junk-foods and other food products. It should be noted that even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.

Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done to stop them because this practice is still legal. The impact on wildlife is extreme, and we cannot afford to ignore this issue any longer!

There have been a number of attempts to introduce legislation to ban DHMO, most notable in Australia, New Zealand and California. In the UK, there have been a number of attempts to e-petition the Prime Minister, however, so far these have all failed.

I urge you to think about whether we should ban Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO)!!

Comments on this post are welcome, but please note the date on the post before making a comment.

What ever happened to Acid Rain?

What ever happened to Acid Rain?

Back in the 1980s the big environmental issue was Acid Rain, but now you never hear about instead all the talk is of climate change. So what ever happen to acid rain, was it real or just a myth?

During the 80’s I spent several summers working on a farm in Norway, where I was told about the about dead lake in the mountains. These were lakes where all the fish had died due to acidification of the water due to airborne pollution, which I was regularly told, that came from British power stations. It wasn’t just in Britain that was the culprit, in other parts of Europe, tree were dying in the Black Forest, blamed on East Germany and other countries in Eastern Europe. In Sweden and Finland there were forest and lakes were being poisoned by acid rain which came from West Germany and Eastern Europe. In North America the Canadians were complaining of acid rain from the Us of A.

So what was this acid rain and where did come from? Well acid rain or more correctly acid deposition is due to a mixture of air pollutants which can lead to acidification of freshwater and soils (for more information see the Air Pollution Information System). A major component of this long distance acid deposition is Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) is caused by the burning of high sulphur fossil fuels electricity generation, industry and domestic heating. The traditional solution to dealing smoke pollution from this type of combustion was to build a bigger chimney and move the problem further away. As air pollution is no respecter of political bounders this lead to the problem becoming transboundary which need international action to solve. So starting with the 1985 Helsinki Protocol (the “30% club”) international action was taken and a number protocols agreed leading to the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.

As result of these international agreements the problem of acid deposition (acid rain), in the developed world, have been greatly reduced, although there are still worries about the effects of acidification in upland areas (see Smith et al. 2000, etc for more information). In the developing world, especially in China and India acid deposition is an increasing problem as environmental legislation in these countries is not strong.

This show that where there is the political will to do something about it such transboundary, and indeed global, environmental problems can be tackled and solved. In a week when it has been made abundantly clear by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that climate change is a real issue and a largely man made one at that (see IPCC 4th Assessment Report), we all have a duty to do something about it.

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