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Medical Does chilled water contains Deuterium?

  1. Dec 1, 2016 #1
    I have heard that chilled water contains hard water. ie in the H2O contains another isotope of Hydrogen with a neutron.

    Is it true? If so, how it might affect our health if we drink?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2016 #2


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    Don't confuse hard water with heavy water

    And don't believe everything you hear.
  4. Dec 1, 2016 #3
    Sorry I meant heavy water only. There was an article in a newspaper which stated that the deuterium in the chilled water is harmful to health. I haven't believed it. That's why I posted my question here...
  5. Dec 1, 2016 #4

    jim mcnamara

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    From the wikipedia article:
    All water cold, hot, or in vapor has deuterium. We have lots of hydrogen atoms in us humans as well. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and a whole raft of other organic molecules in us contain hydrogen. 1 in 6420 of those hydrogen atoms in you right now - is deuterium.

    Where in the world did you read this bit about cold water?
  6. Dec 1, 2016 #5
    It was published in a Tamil newspaper in India. The author is a school science teacher. In a few day's time, the second part is due!
  7. Dec 1, 2016 #6
    Any sample of water, chilled or not, will contain a very small quantity of deuterium.
    Deuterium is not radioactive and it behaves chemically in the same way as ordinary hydrogen.
    I have never heard of it posing a health risk, and could find nothing relevant online.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  8. Dec 1, 2016 #7

    jim mcnamara

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    Hope that your child is not one of that teacher's students. :smile:
  9. Dec 2, 2016 #8


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    While I absolutely agree that deuterium in the amounts that are found naturally in water is absolutely not harmful, it is not quite true to say that it behaves chemically the same way as ordinary hydrogen or poses no health risks. As with everything, the dose makes the poison.

    Deuterium behaves a bit differently to ordinary hydrogen basically due to the fact that it's double the mass of ordinary hydrogen. This changes the kinetics of the chemical bond slightly, changing the reaction rate. This is the "kinetic isotope effect" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_isotope_effect), and it's true for all isotopes but most dramatic for deuterium. This is actually exploited in drug manufacture: deuterated drugs have longer half-lives.
    See: http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v15/n4/full/nrd.2016.63.html

    Now, as to the health risk: because of this same kinetic isotope effect, vastly increasing the amount of heavy water - to about 50/50 - in your body will harm you. This is deuterium toxicity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_water#Effect_on_biological_systems However, that's such an absurdly large amount of heavy water it's not a worry.

    I'm saying this because it's quite an interesting effect, but as I said before, the dose makes the poison so the OP should not worry about the tiny amounts of deuterium found naturally in water.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
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