A Notice circulating on the Internet demands immediate action to protect people from the "killer" chemical dihydrogen monoxid (DHMO)

"Dihydrogen monoxid is colourless, odourless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people each year," the notice warns. "Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxid 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 bloates feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance..."

Not only is DHMO dangerus to humans, the notice points out, it is also extremly hazardous to the environment. It is a major component of acid rain, it contributes to the greenhouse effect, and it is a common cause of erosion of our natural landscape.

Wordwide contamination by DHMO is reaching epedemic proportions, the notice cautions. Quantities of the chemical "have been found in almost every stream, lake and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has been found in the Antartic."

So far, governments and environmental watchdogs have been indifferent to the problem, the notice says. Despite the danger, DHMO is often used as an industrial solvent and coolent, in nuclear power plants, as a fire retardant, as an additive in certain junk foods and other products, and in a wide variety of other uses. "Companies routinely dump DHMO into rivers and oceans, and nothing can be done to stop them because this practice is still legal," the notice reminds us. (Gekürzt, aus Chemie 7-8,1996)

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