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Electrolyzed-ionized or functional water
Posted: 19 January 2011 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I am a regulator who oversees bottled water in Louisiana. My department has been approached by a firm wishing to sell this product it refers to as “alkaline-ionized” water. Apparently it is very similar to the item being marketed by this firm: Essentia. The water is subjected to electrolysis and the alkaline solution resulting from this is filtered, ozonated, and bottled. The equipment dealer has stated that the resultant product has a high redox potential and a hexagonal conformation, the increased surface area of which allows the molecules to be more efficient at nutrient transport. While the firm itself has been careful up to this point to avoid making the kinds of explicit health claims that might draw the interest of FDA and FTC, I still find myself wondering whether this isn’t a snake-oil pitch.

Any physical chemists out there who can provide some insight into this? Thanks.

[ Edited: 19 January 2011 06:54 PM by mckenzievmd ]
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Posted: 19 January 2011 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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HERE is a great site devoted to “structured water” quackery. Sounds like this product might qualify.

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Posted: 19 January 2011 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Brian Dunning of Skeptoid did an episode on ”...healing water machines, devices costing thousands of dollars claiming to ionize or alkalize your tap water, and claiming a dazzling range of health and medical benefits.

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Posted: 19 January 2011 05:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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This is a spam post!! I’d be willing to see if there is a follow up response, but I’ll bet there will not be!

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Posted: 19 January 2011 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I thought so too, Asanta. Hard to tell; they are getting smarter every time.

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Posted: 19 January 2011 06:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Hmm, you might be right. I edited the post to remove the link, but I’ll leave it in place for now just in case, and since it raises a legitimate topic even if that wasn’t the actual intent.

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Posted: 19 January 2011 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Well, I’m an organic chemist not a physical chemist, so I’ll have to reply in terms of organics.  That whole thing as a load of horse crap. 

Occam

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Posted: 19 January 2011 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Occam. - 19 January 2011 07:37 PM

Well, I’m an organic chemist not a physical chemist, so I’ll have to reply in terms of organics.  That whole thing as a load of horse crap. 

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LOL

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Posted: 19 January 2011 10:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Oh come on now, what can you possibly have against functional water?
For myself it’s all I drink and use.
I’d never dream of touching that non-functional stuff!

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Posted: 20 January 2011 04:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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asanta - 19 January 2011 05:39 PM

This is a spam post!! I’d be willing to see if there is a follow up response, but I’ll bet there will not be!

FWIW when I first saw the post I thought the same thing. Sometimes it’s tough to know how far spammers will go, and I could see that perhaps this was legitimate. Nevertheless I was reconsidering this AM and glad to see that Brennen has already removed the link ... just in case.

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Posted: 20 January 2011 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I can assure you I don’t post spam. I’m actually trying to get some information on this topic because we have a company that is trying to set up a plant in Iberville Parish. Thanks to the respondent who provided the link on Water Cluster Quackery; I plan to review this information carefully later in the day after I’ve knocked out a few other things on my desk to see whether it applies to this electrolyzed-alkaline product.

By the way, it is not my intent to endorse the Essentia product. I’m using it as an example because it is similar to the product that this firm in Louisiana wants to distribute. That firm is one of two they provided me information on (the other is Historic Springs Bottling Company).

[ Edited: 20 January 2011 07:14 AM by warreni ]
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Posted: 20 January 2011 07:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Glad to hear it, warreni! We get an enormous amount of linkspam on the forum, by first-time posters in particular, so it’s something we’re ever vigilant about. At any rate I’m sure you can understand the concern that we not give these guys undeserved publicity.

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Posted: 20 January 2011 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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OK, then answering you more reasonably, WarrenI, while one can do all sorts of things like heating, cooling, running electrical charges through water, etc. when it’s finished the water is still just plain water unless you add something to react with it.  They mention ozonation.  This is a process used in Russia and is the equivalent of our chlorination of water to kill organisms.  The only advantage I see is that many don’t care for the taste of tap water that’s been chlorinated, but do like water that’s absorbed oxygen.  Example:  if you boil two cups of water, cool it, and pour half in a large bottle and shake it then taste both, the boiled water tastes flat while the water that’s absorbed oxygen has a more pleasant flavor. 

So all of the electrical processing they may do doesn’t warrant their grandiose claims, and the ozonation is essentially equivalent to the oxygenation that occurs when any of the bottled water purveyers squirt water into their bottles to fill them.

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Posted: 20 January 2011 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Occam. - 20 January 2011 11:00 AM

OK, then answering you more reasonably, WarrenI, while one can do all sorts of things like heating, cooling, running electrical charges through water, etc. when it’s finished the water is still just plain water unless you add something to react with it.  They mention ozonation.  This is a process used in Russia and is the equivalent of our chlorination of water to kill organisms.  The only advantage I see is that many don’t care for the taste of tap water that’s been chlorinated, but do like water that’s absorbed oxygen.  Example:  if you boil two cups of water, cool it, and pour half in a large bottle and shake it then taste both, the boiled water tastes flat while the water that’s absorbed oxygen has a more pleasant flavor. 

So all of the electrical processing they may do doesn’t warrant their grandiose claims, and the ozonation is essentially equivalent to the oxygenation that occurs when any of the bottled water purveyers squirt water into their bottles to fill them.

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Occam, yes, ozonation is actually very commonly used as an alternate means (or in some cases, an additional means) of disinfection in the bottled water industry worldwide. The only short-term effects of ozonation are its disinfectant properties and a distinctive odor and taste. These dissipate over time. That’s not really my concern.

It’s the language about electrolysis and alkalinity that I find somewhat difficult to tease out. I reviewed the information on the water cluster quackery a moderator posted and it seems to address a few of the claims being made: that a hexagonal conformation of molecules is “optimal” in some context and that alkaline water is somehow healthier for you than its neutral counterpart (the equipment dealer—not the prospective bottling firm operators—made some really outlandish claims about the powers of this water). If any associations of water atoms (“hydrogen-bonding”) are as transient (on the order of picoseconds) as the reference describes, it doesn’t seem to make any sense that any molecular clusters would affect the function of the water in any meaningful way; also, as far as nutrient transport, I gather there are ATP-driven or calcium-channel-gated mechanisms for this purpose, which would also not be affected by water structure. The alkalinity claim just seems peculiar on its face: intuition tells me that enzymatic reactions would occur at optimal rates at a balanced (neutral) pH, and, while I may not know enough about the biochemistry of the matter to speak to it directly, it sets off my BS detector. Supposedly the electrolysis results in water that is split into acidic (more H) and basic fractions (more OH), each of which can be attracted to or clusters around a cathode or anode. I have no idea what, if any, impact a more alkaline water would have on metabolic function.

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Posted: 20 January 2011 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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If it is pure H2O, it is neutral, not alkaline, nor acidic.  Why would anyone thing alkalinity would impart anything magical to the water? As a ‘regulator’ for a city water supply, I would think you would have a chemistry background.

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Posted: 20 January 2011 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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If one wanted alkalinity, a pinch of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) would do the trick.  Yes, water does dissociate into H+ and OH- ions, but at the ten to the minus seventh level, that’s what the pH level means, and why pure water is pH 7.  If you add an acid there are more H+ ions (say from HCl <=> H+ and Cl-) and the value of the pH drops because instead of there being 10 to the minus seventh, it may go to ten to te minus 3 Hydrogen+ ions.  Similarly, if one adds a base, one releases more OH- or ties up more H+ ions so the number of them decreases and the pH goes up. 

If you expose pure water (which is almost a complete nonconductor) to positifve and negatively charged electrodes you will temporarily cause a very, very, very slight increase in H+ ions at the positive electrode and of OH- at the negative one.  But, as soon as you stop they’ll go back to neutral.  So, unless this company wanted to furnish double bottles of their water with a small connecting tube at the bottom, and a battery that one can turn on and hook to the positive and negative electrodes respectively in the bottles, AND instructed the person to use a straw and drink out of the bottle with the positive electrode while it’s running, one would get nothing unusual.  And even that would furnish such a submicroscopic amount of extra OH- that it would be meaningless.

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