NANAIMO — Island Health says it has confirmed the presence of DHMO (dihydrogen monoxide) in Nanaimo’s drinking water.

Dihydrogen monoxide (sometimes known as hydroxyl acid) is the major component of acid rain and can be fatal if inhaled. When heated, DHMO can cause burns and has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients.

Alarmingly, high levels of DHMO were also found in Nanaimo’s public swimming facilities.

Test samples from Island Health found DHMO present in Nanaimo tap water.

“We are watching this carefully,” said Island Health spokesperson Nathan Poe. “DHMO has been discovered in pesticides in the past. In fact, even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical.”

Poe says this outbreak of DHMO is particularly insidious, given that the chemical is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. “Normally, we would recommend that people switch to a produced form of hydration, like orange juice, but our testing has found large quantities of DHMO in juices brought to the Island.”

Ingesting DHMO can lead to its long-term presence in the body. Researchers say dihydrogen monoxide has been found in mother’s milk in developing nations.

“I can’t say I’m shocked,” said Robert Ellisial, founder of the Coalition to Ban DHMO. “We’re finding it everywhere.” Ellisial recommends concerned Island citizens visit his informational web site: www.BanDHMO.org

Not everyone is concerned about the levels of DHMO in Nanaimo’s drin king water supply. Some scientists say the chemical is “environmentally safe” and “enhances the functionality, growth, and health of many forms of life.” Anonymous sources in several sport associations say DHMO is quietly used to enhance athletic performance. It is often known by its common name, “water.”

A Nanaimo public works official told The Beacon that “there is no more DHMO in Nanaimo’s water system than what’s allowed under current environmental legislation.”

Is your home’s water supply tainted? Learn more at dhmo.org.