Recently, a trusted friend brought to my attention a dangerous substance many of us are exposed to on a daily basis. Obviously there are plenty of potential dangers out there, and generally I don’t think it’s a great idea to stress overly much about them. The best we can do is to live a generally low-stress life, eat well and heartily, engage in some fun physical movement, cultivate quality relationships and pursue goals that are personally meaningful. No need to freak out about the slightest exposure to GMOs, or electromagnetic fields, or any of the myriad potential threats in our modern environment.
That said, I think this one is different. Dihydrogen monoxide, or DHMO deserves our full attention. Here are some facts about its known, wide-ranging dangers:
- Death due to accidental inhalation of DHMO, even in small quantities.
- Prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage.
- Excessive ingestion produces a number of unpleasant though not typically life-threatening side-effects.
- DHMO is a major component of acid rain.
- Gaseous DHMO can cause severe burns.
- Contributes to soil erosion.
- Leads to corrosion and oxidation of many metals.
- Contamination of electrical systems often causes short-circuits.
- Exposure decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
- Found in biopsies of pre-cancerous tumors and lesions.
- Given to vicious dogs involved in recent deadly attacks.
- Often associated with killer cyclones in the U.S. Midwest and elsewhere, and in hurricanes including deadly storms in Florida, New Orleans and other areas of the southeastern U.S.
- And many more…
It is one frightening chemical, and when it comes down to it, I try to live as chemical-free a life a possible.
To those of you who want to know a bit more, yes, there are defenders of DHMO. They point out that, despite some of the above dangers, the vast majority of those exposed to DHMO do not die within a statistically significant timeframe, that it is a “natural” substance used even in organic food production, that the industry around DHMO is robust and generates thousands of jobs every year with billions in revenue, and that healthy cultures worldwide have used DHMO going back many generations. Additionally, they say, this substance is so ubiquitous that it’s not even worth trying to combat.
Others may argue that the DHMO opponents are myopic, focusing on perils taken out-of-context, and using fear-mongering and shoddy science to support an ultimately untenable position. They say: “Do your own research. Be hesitant about radical lifestyle alterations based on small snippets of information. Don’t be so evangelical, and keep an open mind.”
Maybe that’s true sometimes, but not here. The only resource with any credibility on this issue is the Environmental Assessment Center, with their DHMO Research Division. Beware those who would shill for the opposition. Join me in prioritizing avoidance- down with DHMO!