question.gifOk, this one may be an urban legend but I thought it was interesting. In fact, I think the probability that it an urban legend is extremely high. However it is still interesting.

In 1997. at student from 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 the 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.” Reasons listed for banning this substance include

  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

50 people were asked if they would support a ban of the chemical dihydrogen monoxide. Forty-three supported the ban, six were undecided and one knew that this dangerous chemical was actually water.

Don’t know if it actually happened or not but it is an interesting premise about the gullibity of people. It does seem that some people will believe anything that sounds scientific or from a reliable source. Of course, since I found this on the internet it probable didn’t actually happen.

So what do you think? Is it possible this could actually have happened.

8 thoughts on “What Do You Think?

  1. I think this is an urban legend. I have heard a several variations of this ‘dihydroxyl monoxide’ story years ago when I was in grad school. My favorite was the study where people on the street were asked if they were in favor of ‘women’s suffrage’ in 3rd world countries. They were overwhelmingly against it. hmmmm go figure.


  2. HIS,
    I’m so sure that it is an urban legend I didn’t bother looking up. I guess the people in the study didn’t know the differance between suffrage and suffering. Of course the McDonald’s coffee thing actually happened so you never know about people. Apparently there are those people that need warning labels like “do not place arms & feet into moving lawnmower blades”.
    Did you read my post about things my students have done.


  3. It doesn’t matter whether it is an urban legend or not. It is a cool story and I can easily imagine it happening. I can even see my gullible self signing that petition.


  4. Looks like its true. An important detail: the student surveyed 50 ninth graders, which might partially explain the gullibility.

    That said, others have fallen for it, too. Personally, I just drank a bottle of DHMO, and I don’t feel sick. But hey, I’m just crazy like that.


  5. Brinavincent,

    That is what I thought & why I posted it anyway.


    You are just one crazy dude. Hey, thanks for checking out the story. Usually, I would check it out on snopes but I was going to post it anyway.


    I guess your right. Of course, many people are overimpressed with anything that sounds scientific.



  6. I think that is very scary although I thought the name he used was freaking hilarious…yeah go figure, it’s the biochemistry background in me. It goes right along with the discussion of global warming. Based on “real” scientific information that I learned in college, global warming is simply a regular cycle the earth goes through.

    Most of us have heard of the ice ages. Well, these were caused by global warming..which had nothing to do with us humans at all. Ever so often, the polar ice caps melt due to a build up of CO2 in the air. A few degrees causes the melt, which causes more cold fresh water to be put into the North Atlantic. When this happens, it shuts off the North Atlantic Current because the warm water can no longer overcome the excess cold water influx into the system. When this shuts down, less cold water is moved farther south obviously. A few degrees warmer causes natural frozen methane gas in the ocean beds to be released. Methane gas will actually cause a green house effect..effectively blocking the sun for a number of years..causing the planet to cool down into an ice age. Once the methane then freezes back beneath the oceans, the earth will warm back up again…starting the cycle all over again. Yes, we humans may have speeded the cycle up, and yes we ARE wasteful of our natural resources, but we can no more prevent it than a hurricane or volcano. It is a natural event.

    This is a great example of how people are freaking out over everyday things that we couldn’t control if we tried.


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