Saturday, May 20, 2006

Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) – The truly dangerous chemical in recycled water

Recycled water does contain one chemical that is undeniably dangerous – dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). The United States Environmental Assessment Centre describes DHMO as “a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid”.

DHMO is reported to have been used in death camps in Nazi Germany, and remains in use in prisons in Turkey, Serbia, Croatia, Libya, Iraq and Iran. Astonishingly, it is also widely used in Australia in abortion clinics and other medical practices. Even worse, it is a major component of some major-brand tick and flea formulations promoted in Australia for use on household pets. Similarly, DHMO is used in the production of pesticides used in the Australian cotton industry.


DHMO contamination is widespread in Australia and has been physiologically associated with high blood pressure and urinary tract infections. Alarmingly, DHMO has also been identified in biopsies of pre-cancerous tumors and lesions. DHMO is now ubiquitous in human tissue throughout the world and significant concentrations have even been reported in Antarctic ice caps.

A fact widely known amongst doctors, but less widely discussed, is that semen with abnormally low numbers of viable sperm regualrly contains high concentrations of DHMO.

While precise figures are not available, it is estimated that during the last decade alone, hundreds of thousands of people died as a result of acute accidental overexposure to DHMO.

Chapter 4 of the Australian draft National Guidelines for Water Recycling include this substance in its list of “Constituents potentially found in recycled water, which could pose a risk to the environment”. This is of particular concern since advanced water treatment technologies are unable to completely remove DHMO. Reverse osmosis is partially effective (typically only 10-20% is retained by the membranes). Subsequent processes such as advanced oxidation with UV radiation have been shown to be completely ineffectual.

DHMO does not break down in the environment and is expected to survive in some places for many thousands of years. If DHMO is used in your community, it is extremely likely to end up in any recycled water scheme.


There are allegations that suggest that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be conspiring to cover up the whole DHMO issue. Don’t let this happen in Australia!


Information available on the internet states “Research conducted by award-winning U.S. scientist Nathan Zohner concluded that roughly 86 percent of the population supports a ban on dihydrogen monoxide. Although his results are preliminary, Zohner believes people need to pay closer attention to the information presented to them regarding Dihydrogen Monoxide. He adds that if more people knew the truth about DHMO then studies like the one he conducted would not be necessary.


A similar study conducted by
U.S. researchers Patrick K. McCluskey and Matthew Kulick also found that nearly 90 percent of the citizens participating in their study were willing to sign a petition to support an outright ban on the use of Dihydrogen Monoxide in the United States.

The Truth About DHMO: Okay, so by now I am sure that most readers have realised that dihydrogen monoxide is just another description for H2O, -plain old water.

So what is this all about? A sick joke? Well, no there is a serious point here. I hope this post provides some insight into just how easy it is for people with their own agenda to spread fear and hysteria by compiling a few unrelated facts and citing a few dodgy websites.

There are a couple of blog sites* available in Australia (I wont point to them), whose sole aim is to do exactly that. Just as it is true that DHMO can be associated with all sorts of terrible things, so too can any other chemical we choose to name. But are we really all prepared to leap in and sign the US researchers petition mentioned above, or do we ask for evidence and details first?

Phthalates, human hormones, RU486 abortion pills… yes they are all powerful chemicals and all have the potential to cause harm. But we need to consider how we (and the environment) are exposed to these things. To suggest that advanced-treated recycled water is a significant exposure route is simply not plausible. It’s a scare tactic used by people who think you will fall for it.

*note: I am not referring to Water Futures or 4350Water, both of which I consider to be valuable discussions of issues relating to the Toowoomba Water Futures project.

Comments encouraged.

9 comments:

Snow Manners said...

I love it !!!

Anonymous said...

RU486 was DESIGNED TO KILL UNBORN BABYS. Council does not even have a TEST to meausre it!!! So how can we no?

People should do some research and take a look at the comments that people have left at:
http://thorley.blogspot.com/

The safest answer is to just SAY NO to WEE-cycled POO-reified sewage water! Its simple people, it really is.

Anonymous said...

Nice one!

Hannah said...

Stuart,

Thanks for providing such an unbiased discussion of the issues. This blog should be compulsory reading here in Toowoomba.

Keep it up and do not be discouraged by disparaging comments.

Anonymous said...

i love the part about RO only being partially effective and UV being no use at all!

Wal said...

A further problem found with DHMO - It is an extremely aggressive solvent. After all, look at how well it dissolves NaCl and various sugars.It should be banned totally! Even pure oxygen is not immune.

PD said...

Snow Manners says "I love it!!!".

Is this because he recognises much of his own style and scaremongering in this post?

Manners and co are the most guilty parties peddling fear in Toowoomba.

Snow Manners said...

PD - I would be happy to respond in more detail if you can quote a specific thing that I have said the might be considered "peddling fear".

I would like to think that all statments I have made have been a discussion of fact.

Anonymous said...

I would like to include the fact that the so called "award winning U.S scientist" Nathan Zohner was in fact a 14 year old boy doing a science experiment on how gullible people are and his "86 percent of the population" are 86% of the 50 classmates he questioned.

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