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It killed a British student, it killed others before, and Interpol is warning against it. No matter how much you'd like to lose weight, never, ever resort to taking DNP

"I screwed up big time. Binged/purged all night and took four pills at 4am. I took another four when I woke and I started vomiting soon after. I think I am going to die. No one is known to survive if they vomit after taking DNP. I am so scared."

These terrifying words, sent to her university lecturer, made up the last text message 21-year old British student Eloise Parry ever sent, because the eight DNP tablets she bought on the internet killed her.  

Parry — who had a history of bulimia — reportedly told her lecturer at Glyndwr University in Wrexham that she binged and purged all night before taking the pills. Chillingly, the 21-year old, who appeared to be happy and bubbly in numerous internet piuctures, seemed all too aware that vomiting could be a sign that she was in big trouble. Parry drove herself to hospital before sending the text message, in which she apologized for "screwing up".

While a coroner ruled that Parry's death was accidental, that may not quite be true. Parry did not appear to have ingested the lethal diet pills with the intention of taking her own life, but those who illegally sold and continue sell DNP online have got to be aware of the potential deadly consequences. 

Are you familiar with DNP and its risks? If not, it's high time to change that. Knowing how dangerous these "diet pills" are may just save your life, or that of a friend or relative. It is all too sad that it takes a young woman's premature death to raise awareness of the risks of clandestine weight loss products.

What Is DNP — And Why Should You Stay Away From It?

2,4-Dinitrophenol, 2,4 DNP, or just DNP — whatever you want to call this substance, it should never, ever be called a "diet pill". DNP is used as a raw ingredient in the manufacture of explosives, as a pesticide, in dyes, and as an antiseptic. That doesn't sound like the kind of thing you'd put in your mouth, does it?  Unfortunately, scientists discovered that the compound increases the metabolic rate rather a lot back in the 1930s, after which DNP was marketed as a diet pill. Nowadays, we know that ingesting 20-50 mg per kilogram of body weight can be deadly. 

Its acute toxicity means anyone who just takes DNP (usually sold as a powder or in capsules) can experience nausea, vomiting, sweating, dizziness, headache, a rapid heart beat, dry, hot skin, and extreme thirst. Chronic users of non-lethal doses can develop cataracts, skin lesions, and damage to the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and bone marrow. 

Take too much at once, and chemical-induced hyperthermia can take your life, as happened to Parry. 

Just why would anyone risk it all for weight loss? Parry, it turns out, was quite aware of the potential consequences. After the inquest, Parry's mother said that her daughter knew what could happen, but decided that "being slimmer was worth the risk". Parry's mother went on to warn others against ever taking DNP: "These substances are sold by people who don't care about your health; they just want your money. You can't know whether or not you're getting what you paid for, and probably you're not. It will almost certainly be impure and the impurities could be really nasty. Looking good should never cost you your health or your life."

Interpol is taking the risks of DNP so seriously that it issued an orange notice warning about the chemical, which is also sometimes used as a body building supplement. In a statement, the international police agency warned: "Besides the intrinsic dangers of DNP, the risks associated with its use are magnified by illegal manufacturing conditions. In addition to being produced in clandestine laboratories with no hygiene regulations, without specialist manufacturing knowledge, the producers also expose consumers to an increased chance of overdose."

People who use illegal diet pills despite being aware they could be deadly may think that they won't be among those who pay the ultimate price. While you may be able to take DNP and live to tell the tale, perhaps a few pounds lighter, there is no guarantee — when you play the dieting variety of Russian Roulette, you should never forget that not all the chambers are empty. It's not worth it, people. Don't take DNP.