Magnets and "catalysts" for softening water, magnetic laundry balls, waters that are "oxygenated", "clustered", "ionized" or "vitalized" (purporting to improve cellular hydration, remove toxins, and repair DNA), high zeta-potential colloids and vortex-treated waters to raise your energy levels, halt or reverse ageing and prevent cancer — all of these wonders and more are being aggressively marketed via the Internet, radio infomercials, seminars, and by various purveyors of new-age nonsense. The hucksters who promote these largely worthless products weave a web of pseudoscientific hype guaranteed to dazzle and confuse the large segment of the public whose limited understanding of science makes them especially vulnerable to this kind of exploitation.

The purpose of this site is to examine the credibility of these claims from the standpoint of our present-day understanding of science. The latter, of course, is always evolving and is never complete, but it makes an excellent "B.S. filter" that is almost always reliable. It is hoped that the information presented here will help consumers make more informed decisions before offering up their credit cards to those in the business of flogging pseudoscience.

AquaQuackery: wellness waters for whatever ails you

"Ionized" and alkaline water

 

Water cluster quackery

 

Oxygenated waters and worse

 

Wonky-water wellness schemes

Other water-quackery schemes & scams

Coral calcium quackery

Detox Footbath scams

"Energized" water wackadoo

John Ellis Electron Water Machine

"Magnetized" water misinformation

Microhydride crackpot chemistry

Penta Water pseudoscience

Pi Water piffle

Frequently-asked questions

The BunkHouse: gallery of water-related pseudoscience

Some helpful links

Background: information to help avoid being scammed

What is pseudoscience?

A gentle introduction to water and its structure

About hard water

Dubious water-treatment schemes, mostly

Magnetic water treatment and related magnetic pseudoscience

"Catalytic" water softening

Other alternative softening schemes

Convert your car to burn water

References: some useful links

Another scientist's musings on water pseudoscience and HHO "free energy".

The Drinking Water section of the Open Directory Project contains links to numerous EPA and other informational sites.

Drinking Water Resources - this site contains a wealth of information and hundreds of links, all nicely organized through a menu covering general concerns, contaminants, risk factors and treatment methods. The author is in the water filter business, but he is science-trained and offers reliable advice.

Wilkes University has a good Online Information Guide covering water quality, drinking water, groundwater, surface water, common water quality problems and water analysis and testing.

For a good review of advanced water-treatment technologies, see the article Waterworks in the April 9, 2001 issue of Chemical & Engineering News. (ACS members can access it here.) This has a particularly good discussion of large-scale microfiltration and reverse-osmosis methods such as are being used for wastewater treatment in Orange County CA and elsewhere.

The University of Arizona Hydrology Dept has a very comprehensive, student-oriented Western Water Resources site which has a lot of links of general interest, including to water-related sites of EPA and USCGS. See also Agriculture Canada's site on farm water resources and treatment. Some notes on the historical development of water-treatment processes can be found here.

This private risk management organization has an extensive list of common water contaminants with information on their allowed levels, health effects, and remediation technologies.

U.S. residents may wish to see the NYTimes "What's in Your Water" site and check on the data for a particular city or county.

What's in your well? A guide to well water reatment and maintenance from Health Canada.

Drinking water chlorination - from the Health Canada site

Choosing a water treatment system - a Government of Ontario site

Water purifiers: common deceptive tests intended to convince you that your water is polluted

Drinking water standards: See the US EPA Water Standards site and especially their pdf document that lists specific contaminants and their concentration limits. A similar table is published by Health Canada.

Scams and Frauds page from the excellent CultureJammer's site. Hundreds of links.

SkepDoc - Retired physician Dr. Harriet Hall writes about medicine, science, and quackery.

Dead water, lies or fiction? Blog on various water-quackery scams

Multi-level marketing - Wikipedia - Pro - Con: "Ten big lies" , MLM Watch

Medical/Health pseudoscience, quackery and fraud: QuackWatch, The Quackometer
NSF International has several useful consumer pages about water treatment: see especially Home Water Treatment Devices, and listings of products they have certified.
U.S. Federal Trade Commision: index page --
File-a-complaint
U.S. Federal Drug Administration Consumers Page - Dietary Supplement Advertising Rules