Drowning in Dihydrogen Monoxide
Date Added: Nov. 8, 2002
This one really should be dismissed as the piece of sarcastic humor that it is. Unfortunately, it's so well written and matches many of the other "dire health warning" chain letters floating around that it exemplifies the adage "no joke is too obvious."
Subject: TOXIC CHEMICAL ALERT!!
The Invisible Killer
Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted 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 severe tissue damage. 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.
* is also known as hydroxyl acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
Contamination Is Reaching Epidemic Proportions!
Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in almost every stream, lake, and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice. DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage in the US.
Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:
* as an industrial solvent and coolant.
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 it any longer!
The American government has refused to ban the production, distribution, or use of this damaging chemical due to its "importance to the economic health of this nation." In fact, the navy and other military organizations are conducting experiments with DHMO, and designing multi-billion dollar devices to control and utilize it during warfare situations. Hundreds of military research facilities receive tons of it through a highly sophisticated underground distribution network. Many store large quantities for later use.
The Horror Must Be Stopped!
Act NOW to prevent further contamination. Find out more about this dangerous chemical. What you don't know can hurt you and others throughout the world.
Please forward to all your friends, particularly if they are pregnant as addiction to this chemical can be passed from mother to unborn child. REMEMBER! The withdrawal symptoms can kill you.
E-mail chain letters warning of some everyday product or substance that poses an unknown threat to your health are growing more and more commonplace. Most cite research and use impressive-sounding scientific or technical jargon. Many also play the government conspiracy card as well, alleging that the government knows of the danger, but will not regulate it nor notify the public of the risk. Many real examples can be found in our collection of To Your Health chain letters. Unlike those, however, this one is a joke, through and through. Unfortunately, It's such a well-crafted joke that many mistake it for the real thing.
Dihydrogen monoxide is a real chemical compound and everything written about it above is absolutely true. The term "dihydrogen monoxide" refers to the chemical bonding of two (di) hydrogen (H) atoms to one (mono) oxygen (O) atom. Thus, in chemical nomenclature, this compound would be represented by the formula H2O, a substance you and I know commonly as water.
All of the claims about the uses and dangers of dihydrogen monoxide made in the e-mail above are true - in a sense:
"Accidental inhalation of DHMO" = Drowning
"DHMO ingestion" = Drinking
"DHMO withdrawal" = Dehydration
And so on...
In March, 2004, the dihydrogen monoxide hoax gained media attention when city officials in Alisa Viejo, California fell for it. Acting on the research of a paralegal, the officials were ready to submit a proposal to city council to ban styrofoam cups and containers at events requiring licenses from the city. Among the reasons cited for the ban was the fact that dihydrogen monoxide is used extensively in the manufacturing process and is known to "threaten human health and safety." After learning they'd fallen for a hoax, officials pulled their proposal off the agenda. May be they can use some dihydrogen monoxide to clean the egg off their face. Break this chain.