How Much Do You Know About Chemistry?

How good is your knowledge of chemistry?

What if I were to tell you that there is a dangerous chemical throughout our environment? It is a major component of acid rain, contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape, accelerates corrosion of many metals, causes electrical failures, in its crystalline form has been implicated in many ship sinkings, and by some estimates kills over two million people each year?

Its chemical name is dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). It is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and there is a movement to ban it outright:

What is it?

Remember that the prefix di- means ‘two’ and mono means ‘one’. So dihydrogen monoxide is two hydrogen atoms with one oxygen atom. Most people recognize it as H2O  —  water!

So why is it if you Google “dihydrogen monoxide” you get about 256,000 hits?  The answer can be found here:

Yes, it’s a hoax (the “Ban DHMO” website notwithstanding), frequently used to embarrass people about their ignorance of science. And people have been embarrassed:

It’s another of those little things I like to throw out in science class when I’m substitute teaching.



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