Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Dihydrogen Monoxide Scare

Back in 2004, the city councilors of Aliso Viejo, California were so concerned about the potential threat of poisoning from dihydrogen monoxide, they took steps to protect the community from its potential dangers. They even considered banning foam cups after they learned dihydrogen monoxide was used in its production. Here is how one article described it:

Researchers found that the presence of dihydrogen monoxide in Aliso Viejo had reached startling levels: it was present in its crude form, often spilling unmonitored on to the city streets; it was found to be a crucial ingredient in many common chemical compounds; its presence was even detected in that most ubiquitous of civilised artifacts, the styrofoam cup.
And it got worse: dihydrogen monoxide is lethal if inhaled, causes severe burns in its gaseous state, and is the major component in acid rain. Prolonged exposure to solid dihydrogen monoxide can cause severe tissue damage. It can, said the city council report, "threaten human safety and health".

The issue was also raised by a New Zealand MP in 2007. Some people have been pointing out the potential threats of dihydrogen monoxide since the 1990s though. Back in 1997, a high school student named Nathan Zohner garnered attention from newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations, universities, and congresspeople because of his research on the subject. Here are some of the things that have been said about dihydrogen monoxide:

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 hydroxl 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.

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.

Fortunately, the government has never banned dihydrogen monoxide. In the cases above where politicians got involved, someone eventually pointed out to them that dihydrogen monoxide – more commonly abbreviated as H2O – is water.  Zohner titled his science project, "How Gullible Are We?" What a fitting name.

We can laugh about these cases now. But, there is a similar case out there that has garnered way more attention and has even become mainstream now. Instead of saying water is bad though, they tell us carbon is bad. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – the very gas we exhale and that plants breathe – is portrayed to be some kind of 'pollutant'. They try to convince people that increasing CO2 emissions somehow causes global warming. They also like to point out how bad it is to breathe in the CO2 emissions from automobiles and factories…but that is just elementary school science! In elementary school, you learn about how animals exhale CO2, and plants breathe it in. In return, plants provide animals with oxygen. It's just part of the symbiotic relationship of plants and animals on Earth. It's not that CO2 is toxic, it's just that were not supposed to breathe it regardless of what the source is.

Despite what some people may say, there is no scientific consensus that definitively states that global warming is caused by increasing CO2. It's not the first time the Earth has warmed. Did increasing CO2 emissions cause the Medieval Warm Period? The current global warming isn't anything unusual, its just part of the solar cycle. The Earth and the solar system go through periods of warming and cooling based on solar activity. Are our SUVs causing the polar ice caps of Mars to melt? Are Jupiter's increasing temperatures caused by our factories? Any effect CO2 emissions may have on temperatures is minimal. The biggest irony of all this is the so called 'Green movement'. Plants exposed to increased levels of CO2 grow stronger and healthier (one of the documentaries at the end of this post shows a study done about this). It should come as no surprise to anyone with an elementary school education that plants grow better in an environment saturated with the very gas they breathe. So essentially, if you want to be 'green', you better be increasing your carbon output!

What this boils down to is not science, but money. Funding is the driving factor for scientists espousing global warming caused by CO2 emissions. It's political propaganda for those who want a 'global carbon tax'. Yes, there are people that want to tax the very air that you exhale.

So what we have here is not good science, but a way for some people to make a lot of money. One thing you have to understand is data is not infallible. Data is oftentimes up to interpretation, and just as some religious leaders like to take holy books and cherrypick certain scriptures out of context to prove a point, so to can scientists cherrypick certain pieces of data to prove their point. If you choose to watch the videos at the end of this post, you can see how data regarding global warming has been taken out of context by many scientists.

Here is my satirical view of what has happened here:

[Some rich guys hear someone say that global warming may be caused by CO2 emissions.]

Rich guys: Hmm…maybe we can make some money off of this?

Rich guys: Hey, you over there with the PhD…c'mere.

Rich guys: Have you heard anything about global warming being caused by CO2 emissions?

PhD guy: I think I've heard it mentioned before.

Rich guys: Well, we're looking for someone that can confirm that global warming is caused by CO2 emissions. We were wondering if you might be able to do some research about it for us.  [The rich guys open up a suitcase full of money at this point.]

PhD guy: Oh…yes…I think I could do that research for you!

Rich guys: Alright…you do this for us, you'll be a made man.

So what you have here is research inspired by funding. When other scientists see that scientists saying one thing get funded well, they decide to jump on the bandwagon. Truth is truth though. Just because a well funded scientist says something is true, doesn't necessarily mean it is true. Nor does it become true because some younger scientists seeing dollar signs go around repeating what their well funded elder scientists tell them.

The truth is, CO2 is not a pollutant. It's a part of life on Earth. The Earth – and solar system – has warmed in recent years due to increasing solar activity. The effect of CO2 emissions on global warming is minimal, if not negligible.

But there's a lot of money to be made by trying to convince people that factory and automobile emissions are a threat to the environment.

I wonder if the dihydrogen monoxide hoax was deliberately started in response to the carbon dioxide gloom and doom scenarios. Essentially, both are taking one of the essential building blocks of life on Earth and portraying it as some sort of toxic gas. The main difference is the latter is serving a lot of people well financially.

Suddenly, the dihydrogen monoxide scare doesn't seem as funny anymore.

Here are some documentaries I recommend about the global warming scare.


  1. You know, it's amazing how quickly all the companies got rid of trans fat in foods when they got spotlighted. Yet, we still have BPA plastics and styrofoam cups--jeez! People figure if they don't eat it, they'll be okay. Thanks for letting people know that it all goes somewhere and that's the human body.

  2. All anyone need do is take a look at what life on Earth was like in ages past, when CO2 was much, much higher, and the global temperature was also much, much warmer: life flourished. In point of fact, plants and animals love a warm climate, and a warmer globe would suit them just fine. But all the real evidence points to global cooling, not global warming. But no doubt the fear-mongers that yesterday were fanning the flames of global warming hysteria will be back tomorrow to make a buck off of global cooling. Does anyone remember "Peak Oil"? And does anyone take it seriously anymore, now that more and more oil reserves are being discovered every day, and when it is also becoming clearer every day that oil is abiotic, and not a "fossil fuel" at all? Does it appear to anyone that "elite" control of the "masses" via information control is starting to slip, and that what is actually happening is that the "elites" are becoming desperate to put the geni of information back into the bottle?