Dihydrogen Monoxide

dhmo imagesCA8J84HY

With all the news about toxic chemicals like arsenic being discharged into the Hunter River lately I wonder how many residents are aware of the dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide or DHMO. This chemical has been released into our local rivers for decades.

Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Despite the dangers it is still used in nuclear plants, coal fired power stations and in the production of styrofoam. It is used as an industrial solvent and coolant and even as a fire retardant. It accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals and is the major component of acid rain. Much of the food we eat is contaminated by dihydrogen monoxide. Prolonged exposure to its solid form can cause severe tissue damage.

Despite the dangers companies continue to dump waste DHMO into our rivers and the ocean as the practice is still legal in this country. Please join me in lobbying the Environmental Protection Authority to have this pernicious substance banned forever.

Peter Rowney
Lemon Tree Passage


On first reading Peter Rowney’s letter I thought he was joking. On a subsequent rereading I don’t think he was. He is, however, misinformed.

He is correct about many of the facts on dihydrogen monoxide: it is used in nuclear plants and power stations, it is used as an industrial solvent and coolant. It does accelerate corrosion of metals and is a major component of acid rain. It is in our food, and prolonged exposure to it’s solid form will burn you. And it does kill thousands every year by drowning.

Dihydrogen monoxide – H2O – is water.

A little further reading before sending in such a letter would have made this obvious.

Paul Whiteley
East Maitland


Letter of the week This week’s special Herald pen goes to Paul Whiteley, of East Maitland, for his letter on dihydrogen monoxide. The pen is in the mail. —————————————————————-

Poe’s Law (from the internet), states that ” Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of something that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.”

It appears that Paul Whitely (“Very dangerous substance, indeed” 2/9), might not have recognised the satire inherent in my letter about dihydrogen monoxide. (“Another deadly addition to water” 26/8)

The point of my original letter about dihydrogen monoxide was to encourage some skepticism and critical thinking into the debate on “chemicals” in our environment. The DHMO hoax has been around for decades and is familiar to just about anyone who is interested in pseudoscience and the perils of not researching a subject adequately before committing oneself to a cause.

I have covetted a special Herald Letter Writing Pen for many years now but alas, I will have to continue to write my letters by email. I do hope Mr Whitely enjoys his prize.

Peter Rowney
Lemon Tree Passage

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