How Much Water Can Kill You?

Lurking inside your faucet is a chemical that seems safe, but can actually be a deadly poison – water. So now you’re probably wondering what the heck ISN’T toxic if a thing that you drink every day can kill you, but if you don’t drink it, that’ll kill you too. We spoke to poison expert Debrorah Blum, and we learned some pretty darn interesting facts about the diverse array of poisons out there. (Reactions opening splash here) “I think of poisons as really cleverly evil compounds, because most chemical compounds, including the ones that build our bodies sustain us in one way or another, and a poisonous compound is a chemical compound that knows how to turn a lock your body and do harm.” Before we get into specifics, it’s good to know exactly how we qualify something as poisonous. Back in the Renaissance, the grandfather of toxicology, Paracelsus, gave us a saying that sums it up, “The dose makes the poison.” “So he made a point about poisons, which was that everything is poisonous or not depending on the dose. If you take a compound like arsenic, in a very tiny dose, it doesn’t kill you. In a very large dose it does. Now, from the 21st century perspective, Paracelsus was right and wrong. Yes, everything notches up according to dose, but there are materials that don’t have a safe therapeutic dose. Lead’s a good example. There is no dose so small that we know in which lead is not dangerous.” To test the toxicity of a substance, scientists use a method called the lethal dose 50%, or LD50. It’s the amount of a substance needed to kill 50 percent of a test population, which is usually rodents. This quantity can then be extrapolated into how much it would take to kill a person. For example, the LD50 of water is 6 liters for someone weighing about 165 pounds. That means if you weigh a buck 65 and guzzle about one and a half gallons of water all at once, you’re toast. So don’t do that. While on the other hand, there are some poisons out there that can kill instantly with a way smaller dose. Cyanide is the perfect example. “We have a lot of experience with poisons killing people because we’ve killed a lot of people over our homicidal history and so cyanide causes an almost instantaneous destruction of the enzymes that process oxygen in your cells. You suffer a very rapid chemical suffocation, it’s damaging the nerves so quickly, you may convulse. So a poison that attacks the central nervous system is going to kill you a lot more quickly.” So a dose of cyanide pretty much certifies you as immediately dead. But there are other poisons that take a long time to finish the job and are nearly undetectable. For example, in 2006, Russian spies poisoned ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko with radioactive polonium-210. “There were assassins from Russia that had put polonium 210 in his tea. It’s tasteless so it’s a great poison. I mean he was desperately starting to be sick within a few hours, but it took him quite a while to die because it’s a radioactive poison, it moves through the bloodstream, deposits in the bones, and it starts just emitting radiation from where it’s lodged so you get this slow cook of the radiation.” Litvinenko, although having symptoms within a couple hours, took around three weeks to die from the poisoning. And toxicologists nearly didn’t even figure
it out. You have to know to look for polonium-210 or else you’ll miss it in an autopsy. It just goes to show you, there really is an incredibly diverse array of poisons out there. In fact, much of the chemists’ beloved periodic table is poisonous. Just how much you ask? Deb, take it away.
“Haha! Man, so much of the periodic table is poisonous. There’s antimony, there’s copper poisoning, you can actually poison yourself with copper. You can poison yourself with… well, nickle’s not so bad, but you can poison yourself with other radioactive elements. You can poison yourself with gold, gold is really toxic. You can poison yourself with silver, but you’ll only turn blue.” That’s right Deb you turn blue, but with enough of it, you can die. But even though there’s poisons everywhere, it’s really not that much of a problem. Like with water, what gives life can also take it away. Some of the world’s most powerful medicines are also poisons at higher doses. So don’t lock yourself away in fear of poisons, step out into the world with an appreciation that chemistry like every science has a dual nature. Check out Deb’s amazing book “The Poisoner’s Handbook”, the link is in the description. And also, don’t forget to subscribe and we’ll see you again soon.

56 thoughts on “How Much Water Can Kill You?

  1. I just ate a fuck load of moms spagehhti and then drink another fuck load of water and my stomach is bloated as shit and here i lie on the dining room floor in agony.

  2. I just drank a gallon of water in 4 hours am I toast? I drank that much because I have a football game tomorrow and needed to hydrate

  3. What a crappy video! "Lurking inside your faucet is poison" What kind of a reputable source tosses around this kind of mis-information? You guys and your semantic negligence absolutely suck!

    Anyone knows (or should know) the traditional meaning of a poison is something which causes inherent harm to our bodies.

    Saying that eating 25 pounds of ketchup kills you and then calling ketchup poison makes about as much sense as shitting backwards. WHY would you take that kind of an approach in an informational video? Water is not POISON. It's toxic in huge doses just like every other thing on the planet you fools

  4. This video is fucking idiotic. Several baseless claims that will lead many to think they should drink less water than they are currently doing. I drink 8-10 water bottles a day, which adds up to about 4-5L, along with various other fluids and have never had any issues. More importantly, I feel much better than if I were to drink less throughout the day. Main point being, everyone's body is different, and it is extremely hard for me to believe that someone could so easily die from water intake as is suggested. From what I have read, it all depends on how much of the fluid you intake is actually excreted, and if it is done in a timely manner in comparison with your intake.

  5. Water isn't poison. Stupidity is. Like the woman who died from "drinking water," don't drink nearly TEN FUCKING POUNDS of liquid RAPIDLY and expect your body to be able to endure it REGARDLESS of what it is. Let's not talk about the literal poisons in children's cereals or anything like that. No. Let's warn everybody about WATER. Fuck. Get me off of this planet.

  6. I think it is confusing how she says everything is poisonous according to the dose, then later says that SOME things in the periodic table are poisonous. Every element and compound, including water, will kill you at a high enough dose in a short enough time.

  7. was sipping a tall glass of dihydrogen monoxide while I listened to this vid then prematurely shut it down to watch Bobby Bucher work his magic in Water Boy

  8. she was talking about arsenic and a bunch of stuff that is in the tap water of our faucets of our homes now filtered bottle water is not like that

  9. What this video fail to tell is the important information:
    The average persons kidney can handle around 1l of water per hour. Any more than this and you'll have a bad a time, but you won't die you'll just have to constantly go to the toilet and wreck your filtration. Now drinking 6 liters all at once will kill you but unless you are masohistic you will feel sick way before that.
    Just make sure you get atleast 3-4 liters in there during the whole day and you'll be fine. Also exercise for obvious reasons.

  10. Oops. Just drank 4 litres right now. (Over the time of an hour) Hmm need to switch over to a new diet method I guess than filling myself up on water lol

  11. Wrong. I weigh 155 and have drunk 3.78×2 liters in not even 10 hours. due to having a drug test soon.
    so stop the bullshit.

  12. When I drink water five minutes later I go to pee it out … IF YOU HAVE SALT AND some other chemicals that bind water then it's possible but still THATS INDIRECTLY

  13. I have diarrhoea and just drank about 2L of water in an hour but still feel dehydrated… I am also feeling hot and sweaty… am I drinking too much water or not enough?

  14. i drank too muxh water and my belly hurts so i came to this..this doesnt help i need someone to helpme whos smart

  15. Well let's see I've got to stop drinking any water I've got to stop using my microwave I've got the throw away my cell telephone I've got to not stand out in the sunshine too long and I've got to make sure that when I s*** I do it the right way well well I'm only 78 years old so I guess I've been s***** the wrong way or doing something wrong I don't know maybe I'll just put my head in the oven and turn it on that's the microwave

  16. I have ingested 10lts of water over an 8 hour period while doing heavy manual labor in summer at a body weight of 98kg or 220lbs with an air temperature of about 38C or about 100F….not dead. But I had some pretty bad muscle cramps.

  17. You're topic is about water..
    And what f**** dialouges are you giving about something else.. Just in mid you said something about water, and then whole video was about poisions and etc

  18. I came to this video because I just drank 5.5 L of water in less than 15 minutes. I weigh 120 lbs.

    Edit: I surprisingly didn't even feel full and had no urge to vomit. I didn't experience have any strange side effects at all. No nausea, dizziness, or headaches happened.

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