The Science of Dihydrogen Monoxide

Dihydrogen monoxide is the chemical formula for water

Dihydrogen monoxide. Heard of it? We are 100% certain you have. It’s probably the world’s most common chemical with a whole list of benefits – but it can be fatal too.

Also known as DHMO, dihydrogen monoxide is amongst many other things:

  • A universal industrial solvent
  • A fire retardant
  • A food additive
  • Used in weapons manufacture
  • A coolant

Would you ban a chemical that causes skin burns in either its solid or gaseous state? That is one of main contributors to the greenhouse effect? That helps distribute pesticides? That can kill you if you are exposed to too much (or too little) of it?

It might sound like banning DHMO would be a good thing for humanity, except for one thing.

What is Dihydrogen Monoxide?

Dihydrogen monoxide is the chemical name for water. Yes, that’s right. Water.

We use dihydrogen monoxide every day

Dihydrogen monoxide common name: Water

Chemical formula: H2O

Melting point: 0°C / 32 °F

Boiling point: 100°C / 212 °F

Density: 1000 kg/m3 (as a liquid)

While we may have stretched the point that dihydrogen monoxide is a killer chemical, water of course does have its hazards.

The Dangers of DHMO

  • The most obvious one to humans, of course, is drowning
  • If you’re in cold water, you’re at risk of hypothermia
  • There are health hazards from ingesting contaminated water
  • There are also health risks from drinking highly purified water which has had its minerals removed, such as deionised water
  • People have died from water intoxication when they’ve drunk too much water, and of course from dehydration when they don’t have access to enough water to survive
  • Flooding

Drinking too much water can kill you

On the flip side, water is of course essential to human life – we wouldn’t be here without it. The earth wouldn’t have oxygen, vegetation, agriculture, fishing, or the same patterns of weather. Water helps us to function, protecting body temperature, helping digestion, and boosting energy.

Dihydrogen monoxide is an important chemical for both our planet and our bodies.

Disclaimer

The blog on chemicals.co.uk and everything published on it is provided as an information resource only. The blog, its authors and affiliates accept no responsibility for any accident, injury or damage caused in part or directly from following the information provided on this website. We do not recommend using any chemical without first consulting the Material Safety Data Sheet which can be obtained from the manufacturer and following the safety advice and precautions on the product label. If you are in any doubt about health and safety issues please consult the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

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