Blue Star

Scott Sullivan

No words describe John Manchester. But if you called him “puckish,” I’d not argue fiercely. John described the dihydrogen monoxide threat for me recently. Did you know:

• Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless and kills uncounted thousands of people each year. Most deaths are caused by accidentally inhaling it, but its dangers do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage.

• It is the major component of acid rain, may cause severe burns and contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape. It accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals, may cause electrical failures and has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.

• Contamination is reaching epidemic proportions. Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in every stream, lake and reservoir in America today. But pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in the Antarctic. In the Midwest alone, dihydrogen monoxide has caused million of dollars of property damage.

• Despite the danger, the substance is often used as an industrial solvent and coolant, in nuclear power plants, as a fire retardant and in many forms of cruel animal research. It is used in the distribution of pesticides and as an additive in junk foods.

• Companies dump waste dihydrogen monoxide into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done to stop them because the practice is still legal. The impact on wildlife is extreme. Time to ban it now!

Did you bring a petition? I asked John.

“No,” he said. “It’s a hoax. Think: two atoms of hydrogen, one of oxygen.”

H2O … water, I said.

“Dihydrogen monoxide is another name for it. Water is colorless, odorless, kills thousands each year by inhaling it, is in acid rain ...”

But our bodies are three-fourths water. It’s the stuff of life …

“In marketing,” John said, “I learned how you frame words can mean more than the facts—or lack thereof—they convey.”

For full story, pick up a copy of the June 12 Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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