heavy water

Rob Hooft hooft at EMBL-Heidelberg.DE
Wed Apr 12 04:45:20 EST 1995

>>>>> Phillip Bigelow writes:

 Phillip> Trumborm at dc37a.nci.nih.gov (Mark W. Trumbore) writes:

 Mark> wolk at aludra.usc.edu (wendy wolk) wrote:

 Wendy> Can anyone tell me the chemical formula for heavy water and in
 Wendy> what dosage is it harmful

 Mark> The formual for heavy water is D2O (D = deuterium).  You have to
 Mark> consume a huge amount of heavy water for it to be toxic.

 Phillip>   What would be the symptoms?  Also, would consuming
 Phillip> air/water/food that contains pure O18 (heavy oxygen) also be
 Phillip> pathologic?

The only difference between H2O and D2O is the fact that the D atoms are
2 times as heavy as the H atoms, and thus a number of processes involving
those (essential to the energy systems in the body) would run 1.4 times
slower (square root of two, "kinetic isotope effect"). I would think this
will lead to imbalance quite soon, but it could be that Mark is correct.

O18 is only 18/16 times as heavy as normal oxygen, leading to much smaller


Rob W. W. Hooft, hooft at EMBL-Heidelberg.DE, Meyerhofstr. 1, 69117 Heidelberg
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