Sunday, March 14, 2004 (AP)
SoCal city falls victim to Internet hoax, considers banning items
made with water
(03-14) 03:06 PST ALISO VIEJO, Calif. (AP) -- City officials were so concerned about the
properties of dihydrogen monoxide that they considered banning foam cups
after they learned the chemical was used in their production.
Then they learned that dihydrogen monoxide -- H2O for short -- is the
scientific term for water.
"It's embarrassing," said City Manager David J. Norman. "We had a
paralegal who did bad research."
The paralegal apparently fell victim to one of the many official looking
Web sites that have been put up by pranksters to describe dihydrogen
monoxide as "an odorless, tasteless chemical" that can be deadly if
As a result, the City Council of this Orange County suburb had been
scheduled to vote next week on a proposed law that would have banned the
use of foam containers at city-sponsored events. Among the reasons given
for the ban were that they were made with a substance that could "threaten
human health and safety."
The measure has been pulled from the agenda, although Norman
said the city
may still eventually ban foam cups.
"Our main concern is with the Aliso Creek
watershed," Norman said. "If you
get Styrofoam into the water and it breaks apart, it's virtually impossible to clean up."