In corporate America if the work you do uses chemicals it is an OSHA requirement that you have a book for MSDS, Material Safety Data Sheets. In this book you're supposed to put all the information about the dangerous chemicals in use. Here is the MSDS for a substance known as Dihydrogen Monoxide.
Dihydrogen MonoxideAs you can see, this is some pretty nasty stuff. If inhaled, it can cause asphyxiation and is often fatal. Overexposure isn't bad -- "mild dermatitis" -- but over-ingestion is more unpleasant. Not included in this MSDS is the dangers of this stuff in its gaseous and solid forms. Exposure to the solid form can be serious and even fatal. If you encounter its gaseous form it can cause serious burns. Even in its liquid form it is one of the leading causes of death in young children.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
IV. FIRE & EXPLOSION DATA
Unusual Fire and Explosion Hazard: Rapid temperature rise of liquid can result in explosive vaporization, particularly if in a sealed container.
V. HEALTH HAZARD INFORMATION
Acute over exposure: Inhalation can result in asphyxiation and is often fatal.
Acute overexposure: Prolonged but constant contact with liquid may cause a mild dermatitis.
Chronic overexposure: Mild to severe dermatitis.
Acute overexposure: Excessive ingestion of liquid form can cause gastric distress and mild diarrhea.
VI. REACTIVITY DATA
Hazardous decomposition products: Hydrogen - Explosive gas Oxygen - Supports rapid combustion
The thing that this datasheet doesn't tell you is that this stuff is everywhere. Factories use it regularly and dump it into sewers, streams and other waterways unfiltered. You'll find it in lakes and oceans in abundance. It is the primary component of acid rain. It is the leading cause of soil erosion. This chemical is found in pre-cancerous tumors. If your car brakes are exposed to it, it can seriously decrease their efficiency, causing auto accidents. Recent science suggests that it is a major factor in El Niño and the rampant destruction of sea life from warming water. It is used as a chemical solvent. It is used in nuclear facilities. Fire departments use it as a chemical fire suppressant. Scientists use it in their preparation genetically-modified plants. The CIA has reportedly used it as a method of torture. It is used in pesticide production, sanitation, and animal research facilities. The Navy uses it extensively in weapons testing. The list goes on.
For reasons unknown the authorities appear to be blind to this dangerous chemical. They barely regulate it, require little safety precautions, and allow its general use in all sorts of applications. The stuff that they use to remove human waste is the same stuff that's in your favorite soda. Banning this stuff outright seems like the best idea, but nobody is working on this at all.
What should you do? Nothing. Nothing at all. Dihydrogen monoxide is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen: H2O. But it's interesting, isn't it, how the right spin can make even water look bad.