The Dihydrogen Monoxide Menace


Photo by DodgertonSkillhause at

In 1983, the Durand Express ran an April Fool’s article detailing the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide. The weekly newspaper in Durand, Michigan reported the presence of the chemical present in the city’s water pipes. They warned of it being fatal if inhaled and the production of blistering vapors.

This was repeated on multiple occasions. It was first replicated by Eric Lechner, Lars Norpchen, and Matthew Kaufman. At the time, they were housemates at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This was built upon by Craig Jackson when he created the parody organization “Coalition to Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide”.

In 1997, Nathan Zohner used the hoax as an experiment in gullibility. What happened with that?

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