Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide

by Roger Graves

I want to bring your attention to a dangerous chemical present in our environment. Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) was used extensively by the US in Vietnam, and the soil in many parts of Vietnam still has heavy concentrations of it. Although little publicity has been given to it, many US military bases keep large stocks on this chemical on hand and have underground distribution systems for it. DHMO is used in both nuclear arms factories and chemical weapons plants.

Dihydrogen monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless, and exposure to it kills thousands of people every year. Prolonged exposure to its solid form can cause severe tissue damage, while exposure to the gaseous form can cause severe burns. DHMO has been used as a riot control agent in some parts of the world.

DHMO is the major component of acid rain. It contributes to global warming via the greenhouse effect. DHMO has been found in almost every stream, lake, and reservoir in North America today, and is frequently found in excised tumours of terminal cancer patients. But the occurrence of this deadly chemical nowadays is global, and it has even been found in Antarctic ice. Much of our food supply is contaminated by DHMO. Even after washing, food found in the produce sections of supermarkets frequently contains traces of it.

Although DHMO can have severe environmental effects, industrial companies routinely dump it into rivers and lakes. The impact on wildlife from environmental DHMO can be extreme, and its presence often makes otherwise fertile farmland unusable. DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage in the US Midwest and California, and contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape by weakening the rocks and soil that it comes into contact with.

Have I scared you yet? Don’t worry, the chemical formula for dihydrogen monoxide is H20, otherwise known as water. Dihydrogen monoxide is just the formal chemical name for water. Read this article again, but this time substitute the word water for DHMO, and you’ll find that everything I’ve said is perfectly true, just pitched to sound scary. I’ve put in a lot of phrases to which most people will react negatively, such as nuclear arms factories and chemical weapons plants. Do they use water in these places? Sure they do - in the washrooms. Did the US use it in Vietnam? Well, they made coffee and took showers while they were there.

It’s easy to write scary stuff like this, and unless you have the technical background to see through it you can have difficulty dismissing it for the rubbish it is. Governments often use scare stories like this because scared people are likely to run to them for help and agree to any measures they put forward.

Climate change is a good example of this. Unless we reduce our carbon dioxide output the world is going to heat up uncontrollably, there will be mighty tempests and scorching deserts, mass extinctions of wildlife, wars, famines and general assorted disasters. Do as your wise and noble government tells you, and with their inspired leadership and guidance we might all just survive, albeit with much higher taxes. Of course you mustn’t question any of these predictions, in case the whole facade falls down, so anyone who does so will be called a climate change denier and cast into outer darkness.

There’s a rather clever twist to this story. We are told nowadays by the powers that be that we have to fight climate change, although previously the term was global warming. Whereas global warming is very specific in its meaning – things are going to get warmer – climate change is one of those amorphous fears that can mean just about anything. Any time the weather does something spectacular, you can put it down to climate change. Typhoon in the Philippines – climate change! Severe winter cold in Europe – climate change! Flooding in New York caused by development constriction of the Hudson River and a fairly ordinary storm surge, otherwise known as Superstorm Sandy – climate change!

The recent H1N1 flu panic was another example of a worldwide government-inspired scare story. In the event, the number of deaths from H1N1 was very much less than the normal deaths we get every year from seasonal flu, yet we don’t get worldwide panics every year because of seasonal flu. A lot of people will tell you we were right to panic, because H1N1 could have been a disastrous pandemic, but then you can apply this thinking to just about anything. Do your children wear protective clothing against rattlesnake bites? After all, there could be a sudden invasion of these deadly creatures.

On a somewhat smaller scale the Walkerton disaster in Ontario, where several people died from drinking contaminated water, became another government-inspired scare story. If you read the Walkerton Inquiry report you will find that this was clearly an isolated incident. The well used for the town's water supply had been known for many years to be vulnerable to contamination from agricultural run-off, but rather than drilling a new well the municipal authority assumed that water treatment would protect its supply. Unfortunately, adequate treatment failed to materialise because the municipality entrusted the running of the treatment plant to unqualified people who routinely falsified records rather than doing their jobs properly. The Ontario government blew this incident out of all proportion to give the impression that the Province’s water supply was in imminent danger (which it isn’t and never was). As a result we now have Source Water Protection committees with enormous powers which the government can use to control land use.

Government-inspired scare stories, eagerly abetted by the liberal mass media, are becoming more and more common. The next time you hear of one, just say to yourself - dihydrogen monoxide!

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