heavy water

Phillip Bigelow n8010095 at henson.cc.wwu.edu
Sun Apr 16 02:48:31 EST 1995

augusta at rockvax.rockefeller.edu writes:

>	But isnt D2O rather expensive to be used as a murder weapon
>in this case.  Just a thought

  D2O is relatively inexpensive (as exotic chemicals go).  Some companies
offer it for sale to anyone (and it isn't regulated).  Tritium dioxide (the
"radioactive heavy water"; T2O) is used in trace amounts as the reactive
component on luminescent watch dials, but, in pure form, it is strictly
regulated (as regulated as is plutonium).  That is because tritium 
(along with a cocktail of deuterium and lithium) makes a neat fuel for
thermonuclear weapons. 

For someone writing a murder mystery (as the original poster was doing),
using D2O seems like the perfect "vehicle".  The chemical is inexpensive,
available, and probably would be un-detectable in the average, every-day
autopsy and coroner's report.  In real life, using heavy water would be a
problem, because the murderer couldn't control the victom's in-take of water
(without being detected as a suspect).  It would be pretty hard to spike a
can of Pepsi, particularly if the can hasn't been opened yet, and the murderer- to-be is across town at the time.  It would also take too long.  If the muderer
used tritium dioxide (T2O), the victom would probably set off a geiger counter
during an autopsy.  Although it's doubtful that a coroner would habitually
have a geiger counter near the autopsy table.  :-)

     / "In evolution, sometimes you're a fly. \ 
     /  Other times, you're the windshield."  \ 
                       Louis Psihoyos 

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