Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide – Hoax Analysis

Picture Suggesting Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide
Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide


Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide!

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.

Dihydrogen monoxide:

  • is also known as hydroxyl acid, and is the major component of acid rain.
  • contributes to the “greenhouse effect.”
  • may cause severe burns.
  • contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape.
  • accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals.
  • may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.
  • has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.
  • 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 midwest, and recently California.

Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:

  • as an industrial solvent and coolant.
  • in nuclear power plants.
  • in the production of styrofoam.
  • as a fire retardant.
  • in many forms of cruel animal research.
  • in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.
  • as an additive in certain “junk-foods” and other food products.

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 Horror Must Be Stopped!

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 message talks and warns about the dangers of a chemical called Dihydrogen Monoxide termed as DHMO – that it can cause serious health hazards to people and environment in general. The message is not a fact, it is in fact a popular hoax – Dihydrogen Monoxide is another name of the scientific formula H2O, which is simply water.

Longstanding Hoax

This Dihydrogen monoxide hoax has been popular for more than two decades now, calling normal water (H2O) with an unfamiliar scientific name, “Dihydrogen monoxide” that goes with the basic rules of chemical nomenclature, although the name is not published by IUPAC (The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry). Other similar, less known scientific names for water include Hydroxic acid and Hydrogen hydroxide. The hoax message, as a humor, has been circulating in various forms, also insisting that this is a cover up from the governments to hide the seriousness of the DHMO issue.


As mentioned in the warning, Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO), in other words, the normal water is NOT regulated, labeled as hazardous, or banned. This popular hoax is in fact intended to illustrate how the lack of proper scientific literacy and an exaggerated analysis can lead to misplaced fears among people. The term “Dihydrogen monoxide” may sound dangerous to people with a limited knowledge of chemistry, or those who hold on to an ideal of a “chemical-free” life (called chemophobia).

History of DHMO Hoax

It would be very interesting and surprising for the readers to know how this silly DHMO hoax started, became popular and has been persistently circulating over decades. Mentioned below are some of those instances:

It all started in the year 1989, when Eric Lechner, Lars Norpchen and Matthew Kaufman (housemates while attending the University of California, Santa Cruz) circulated a Dihydrogen Monoxide contamination warning in the Campus by using photocopied fliers of a similar warning published in the Durand (Michigan) Express newspaper that warned about “Hydrogen Hydroxide”. To make their warning sound more dangerous, they used the term ‘Dihydrogen monoxide’.

In 1994, another student of same university, Craig Jackson created a web page called Media Circus for the coalition to ban DHMO. His website is no longer available.

In the year 1997, a 14-year-old student at Eagle Rock Junior High School in Idaho Falls, Nathan Zohner conducted a survey among his classmates, whether to ban DHMO or not. Surprisingly, 43 out of 50 of his classmates voted to ban the chemical, without even realizing that it is the simple, harmless water.

In 1998, getting inspired from Jackson’s web page and Zohner’s research, Tom Way created a website at, which included links to credible sites like the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health. This website still tries to convince people about dangers of DHMO.

On April Fools’ Day in 1998, a member of the Australian Parliament even announced a campaign to ban dihydrogen monoxide internationally.

On 1st April 2010, Canadian Parliament Member Andrew Scheer used this DHMO hoax, to release an April Fool prank “media release” on his website, claiming he has put across a bill to ban the dangerous substance from all federal government buildings.

Lately, as part of an April Fool’s Day prank again, in 2013, two presenters at the Gator Country 101.9 radio station in Lee County, Florida announced that harmful dihydrogen monoxide was coming out of their water taps. This prank caused several consumers to call the local utility company, which later had to release a notice stating that the water was safe. The two presenters were in fact suspended for few days by the station’s general manager, Tony Renda.

That’s a small glimpse of this long standing silly and funny DHMO hoax!

Hoax or Fact:



Dihydrogen monoxide hoax

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Prashanth Damarla