A 21-year-old university student has died after taking a chemical she bought over the internet as a way to lose weight.
Sadly Eloise Aimee Parry was the latest of a string of young people to fall victim to the chemical 2,4-dinitrophenol, known as DNP. It is a very dangerous chemical and scientists have been aware of this for nearly a century.
During World War I, DNP was sometimes used to fill armour-piercing shells, as a mixture with picric acid, known as Shellite or Tridite. An explosion in a munitions factory at Rainham in Essex in 1916 was attributed to the chemical.
Just like TNT it was found to be toxic to the munitions workers handling it. Many of them lost weight dramatically and some even died simply by absorbing it through their skin. The commercial use of DNP is as a pesticide or herbicide and, in 2009, 11 workers in a Chinese chemical factory – plus nine of their relatives – contracted DNP poisoning, their skins turned yellow or even black and two died.… Read the rest