Florida country radio morning-show hosts Val St. John and Scott Fish are currently serving indefinite suspensions and possibly criminal charges for what can only be described as a successful April Fools. They told their listeners that “dihydrogen monoxide” was coming out of the taps throughout the Fort Myers area – as I’m sure you all know, dihydrogen monoxide, or H2O is nothing but water.

djAs it turns out, their readers unwittingly panicked so much that Lee County utility officials had to issue a county-wide statement calming the fears of chemistry impaired Floridians.

molecueI wasn’t really able to find any audio evidence of how this prank was played because now authorities are trying to prove the DJs are guilty of a felony; they may have pushed it a little too far. Now, I’m not really familiar with Florida laws but… technically, they didn’t say anything wrong – I mean, it’s the same as telling people there’s a potent parasympathomimetic alkaloid (nicotine) in their cigarettes or Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria in their yogurt. I can understand them being suspended if things escalated to this level (though again, it was a really successful April Fools), but facing a felony charge because the gross majority of Florida doesn’t even know the chemical formula of water? If anything, I’d penalize the education system.

“My understanding is it is a felony to call in a false water quality issue,” Diane Holm, a public information officer for Lee County, told WTSP, while Renda stood firm about his deejays: “They will have to deal with the circumstances.”

I was pretty curious about this, so I called my family and some friends and told them to be careful, because dihydrogen monoxide has leaked into the tap water. The answers I got varied from “What… water?” to “You’re stupid”.

But apparently, calling water by its scientific name is a false water quality issue, blamed by both the authorities and the general public. A poll conducted on GatorCountry asked if the 2 should return to radio, and 78 percent of the answers were ‘Never‘. Sheesh… I just hope all these people would sit down, get a big cup, infuse some Camellia sinensis in dihydrogen monoxide, grab a graphite based writing implement and a chemistry manual, and thoroughly read it and take notes.

Enjoyed this story? Like ZME Science on facebook:
Independent science reporting, always spot on. Join ZME Science's daily newsletter

You Might Also Like