City Scared By Dihydrogen Monoxide Threat

from the brilliant dept

Sometimes life really does imitate the Onion. The Dihydrogen Monoxide research website has been online for many years, and is a well known (and well done!) hoax page describing the risks of the “colorless and odorless chemical compound” dihydrogen monoxide. Without much chemistry training, you should be able to translate dihydrogen monoxide into its chemical representation of H20 – more commonly known as… water. Of course, never underestimate those with too much free time on their hands and access to the internet. It seems that a paralegal working for the city of Aliso Viejo, California became so worried about the risks of this compound, that a law was almost passed through on the basis of that website. The city considered banning styrofoam cups (which have other problems) entirely because the site mentions that “dihydrogen monoxide” is used in the production of those cups. Update: As is pointed out in the comments, it appears the water hoax was not the sole reason for the styrofoam law, but was listed as one of the reasons.

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Comments on “City Scared By Dihydrogen Monoxide Threat”

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Andrew Klossner says:


It’s not true that the law was almost passed “entirely” because of these worries. Instead, the city council was thinking of banning Styrofoam from city-sponsored events, and asked the paralegal to research possible justifications with which to argue the point. The paralegal fell for the prank, H2O was added as a “whereas” in the proposed ordinance, and then it all came apart. This makes for a good joke on a slow news day, but the subtext about stupid city councilors doesn’t fly.

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