There are lots of information sources available to the public and there are lots of misinformation, misinterpretations and misunderstandings when it comes to drinking water issues and concerns. Many consumers are thoroughly confused as to what is or is not a real concern or problem.
The objective of this presentation is to make you more aware of the various types of scams associated with drinking water so that you can better recognize a scam or potential scam and know how to deal with it.
Like any other scam, a scam associated with drinking water uses pseudoscience, absolute nonsense or even pure trickery to separate a person from their money. Another name for a scam is fraud and fraud is a crime, but this does not stop people from trying to make money by committing fraud.
Everyone is susceptible to being scammed regardless of age, sex, race, religion, education or professional background. Those who lack a basic understanding of scientific principles are easier prey for drinking water scam artists, but many people are susceptible to scams simply because they want to believe in miracles.
Water is the most common substance on Earth and also one of the most unusual substances on Earth. It has many unusual properties that appear to be related to its changing structure, which is not yet completely understood. Since water is absolutely essential and poorly understood by most, it is an excellent target for scam artists.
Drinking water scams have been around for a long time, preceding Egyptian times. Most early scams were associated with the occult, and some still are.
The world wide web may be the information superhighway but it is also an ideal medium for promoting junk science and pure fraud. If you do a web search for subjects like magnetic water treatment, alkaline water, or ionic water, you may be surprised at what you find. The majority of these sites are just scams that provide nonsense information or use pseudoscience in an attempt to separate you the consumer from your money.
Many people do not believe that snake oil really existed but it did along with thousands of other quack medical products. There really were snake oil salesmen too. The images above present some of the products promoted from the mid- to late 1800s. People are still purchasing products today that make about as much sense as some of these remedies.
Many water scams have been associated with quack medicine. I have mentioned only two examples here, use of water for hydrotherapy and drinking radioactive water for its supposed health benefits. Such scams do not extend life and promote good human health. They may in fact shorten life.
As stupid as it may sound today, people once paid good money to be sprayed by water through a variety of hoses with different nozzle shapes and sizes for supposedly health benefits. A Dr. Kellogg popularized this treatment technique called hepatic douche or hydrotherapy. This picture was taken from a journal published in 1902.
Hot springs have been used for thousands of years for medical benefits and are still in use today. The ill and infirm have journeyed long distances seeking cures from hot springs that were considered to have miraculous healing powers. In the United States, the most famous curative waters are those at Hot Springs, Arkansas. In fact, the properties of these waters were valued so highly that in 1832 Congress established Arkansas Hot Springs as the first federal reservation, a forerunner of the national park system. These hot springs often approached 140 degrees Fahrenheit and did seem to have invigorating powers, especially for people suffering from arthritis and rheumatism. The electron was discovered in 1903 and this led to the discovery by others that the waters in many of the world’s most famous health springs were also radioactive. This radioactivity was due to the presence of radium emanation—what we now call radon gas—produced by the radium that is present in the ground through which these waters flowed. The radioactive craze began and for over 30 years, prior to any researcher studying radioactivity dying of cancer or other radiation-induced causes, the general conclusion was that radioactivity is natural and therefore good for you.
Fed by the radioactivity craze, all sorts of devices containing the radioactive elements of either radium, uranium or thorium soon hit the quack medicine market place. The primary period of radioactivity quackery was from about 1910 to 1932. There were uranium blankets for arthritis, thorium-laced medicine to aid digestion, radioactive suppositories to relieve constipation, and many, many other devices making use of radiation therapy. Radium drinking water became very popular and was promoted for increasing vigor. Companies started looking for the presence of radiation in well water. Radiation became the basis for a huge quack medicine industry, which included drinking highly radioactive water. Fortunately, this quackery lasted for only a few decades but it took in millions of dollars. Most of the drinking water devices disappeared from the market in the 1930s after the gruesome death of Eben Byers in 1932. He was a well-known industrialist and playboy who drank three bottles of radium water per day for years and his jaw fell off before he died. Byer’s death also led the recently formed U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to crack down on radioactive health products but some low-radioactivity devices continued to slip through regulatory cracks until well into the 1960s. The era of dangerously radioactive quack cures essentially went to the grave with Eben Byers but other quack cures, some of which are also dangerous, are just as widespread today.
A large variety of crock pot type containers (shown in upper images here) which contained radium were on the market during the 1920s. The radioactive decay of radium produced radon in the water stored in these containers. A popular company of the times called their crock the Revigator. It is depicted in the top image on the left. A variety of devices were also designed to be placed into any type of container with water to produce radon water. These devices were called emanators because radon gas was released from them to the water. Unfortunately for the persons who could afford any of these devices, they actually worked quite well.
Radon water could also be produced from addition of pills or by addition of drops from a radioactive concentrate. This image shows a package of radione capsules that could be dissolved in water.
This image shows containers of radium salts on the left and a liquid concentrate on the left that could be consumed as is or used to add radioactivity to drinking water. The Radithor on the right was what killed Eben Byers.
One of the earliest known bottled water scams, from about 1905 to 1910 was associated with radon water, but not in the way that you might think. Entrepreneurs started bottling radon water from naturally radioactive hot springs and selling it as radon water. The brand of water in the bottle shown here was called radol. Radol was promoted by its creator, Dr. Rupert Wells (real name of Dennis Dupuis), as “radium impregnated” water that was a cure for cancer. Rival companies soon pointed out that radon’s half-life is just 3.82 days, so by the time bottled radon water reached a customer, most of the radiation would be gone. Therefore, this type of radon water was labeled a scam because it often had no more radiation than dishwater. The American Medical Association (AMA) was concerned that the public was being fleeced by charlatans, so they established guidelines and a certification program for radon water generators that stayed in effect from 1916 to 1929. To receive AMA approval a device had to generate more than 2 micro-curries of radon per liter of water in a 24-hour period. This is several thousand times the level of radon considered safe in drinking water today. Bottled radium water suspensions or radon emanators became more popular than bottled radon water that lost its potency within a few days. One of the more potent radium water concentrates was bottled by a New Jersey company, Radiothor shown in the previous slide, and promoted by a Dr. Bailey. This was the medicine that killed Eben Byers in 1932. Byers was a star athlete who had won the U.S. amateur golf championship in 1906. Byers also owned one of the world’s biggest steel companies in Pittsburg. He started taking Radithor at the recommendation of Dr. Bailey in 1928 when he was injured on a train following a Harvard-Yale football game. He consumed three bottles of Radithor per day until 1930, when he stopped because his teeth started falling out and holes appeared in his skull. His skeleton was still extremely radioactive when his body was exhumed in the mid-1960s for further study. There are other horror stories about high exposure to radium.
I classify modern drinking water scams into five categories as listed here. There is overlap between the first two because many bottled waters make false health claims. Treatment and testing scams have some overlap with health quackery scams too because many treatment devices make false health claims and testing scams employ scare tactics to convince people to purchase expensive treatment equipment they do not need. Don’t believe much of what you hear and even some of what you see when someone is trying to sell you some special form or water or some special water purification device. Contact an expert for advice, do not a rely on information provided by a sales representative.
There are many viable uses and benefits for bottled water and the market has grown tremendously, especially since the 1990s. However, there are a variety of scams associated with bottled water.
Most people remember the old bottled water dispensers that used five-gallon glass bottles and were later switched to plastic. At one time this was just regular bottled tap water provided by a utility. Large dispensers now provide special types of water. The one on the top right is supposed to provide oxy-water. Bottled water has also gone from one-gallon containers to a wide range of bottle shapes, sizes and colors.
For the past ten years the bottled water industry has been one of the most rapidly growing industries worldwide. According to a 2002 study (results shown here), Americans were drinking more bottled water than caffeinated soft drinks. Bottle water consumption may soon overtake the combined total for both caffeinated and non-caffeinated soft drinks. Only coffee and tap water are consumed in greater volume than bottled water.
A relatively new idea is designer labeling for bottled water. These products are now used to promote many other items besides just bottled water. In addition to the profit from the bottled water itself, there is an additional bottling fee and commercial advertisement fee.
There are many things good about bottled water and that is part of the reason the industry has grown into a multibillion dollar industry. Worldwide market value of bottled water is expected to reach $100 billion by 2010. Bottled water is regulated by the FDA and most bottled water is comparable in quality and safety to tap water in the United States. Bottled water does have certain advantages over tap water. It is convenient and portable. It can be flavored to improve taste, and its consumption is considered more healthy than many of the other high sugar and often caffeinated drinks we frequently consume.
Some specially waters come in very elegant containers and may cost up to 7500 times that of tap water. Some special waters cost more than 100 times as much per gallon as gasoline, and this is not the health quackery stuff. Numerous studies have shown that, in general, bottled water does not taste any better than most public tap water, nor is it safer to drink. In fact, ,most bottled waters have a greater risk for certain types of problems, like microbial contamination for example, than public tap water that carries a residual disinfectant. Bottling companies take advantage of any niche market to add to their profits. In doing so, some unethical companies or sales reps stretch the truth as to the benefits of their bottled water versus tap water. There are numerous health quackery scams that make use of products packaged as some form of bottled water.
Bottled water is associated with a large variety of health quackery scams as shown in this image. Most of these special types of water can be purchased through the Internet. For some categories, you can also purchase a treatment device to produce your own water with magical properties.
There are a number of oxygenated bottled water scams that range from use of pseudoscience to pure nonsense. They are based on the premise that you can increase oxygen content in drinking water and that this will lead to an increased oxygen uptake in blood to promote all sorts of special benefits.
Some companies claim to have found special clustered forms of water somewhere in nature, most likely a remote mountain stream, that can carry a high level of oxygen. This water is touted to give you a special boost too.
And then there is the super-oxygenated bottled water or even oxy drops you can purchase to produce special clustered water that can supposedly carry more oxygen to your cells. Super-oxygenated water is one of the latest bottled water sports scams. This oxygen enhanced sports drink that contains up to seven times the oxygen as normal tap water is supposed to boost athletic performance. There is no credible evidence that it does. Your lungs are designed to get oxygen into your bloodstream, not your digestive system. Unless you have gills there is little reason to believe that water with a high level of oxygen does anything except provide an expensive burp. If this same principle applied to highly carbonated drinks, they would probably kill you by allowing C02 to seep into your blood. A number of major university football programs have tested these super-oxygenated waters. The Federal Trade Commission has fined at least one company for false advertising in relation to this type of scam.
You can now purchase bottled water with any mineral you desire, including metals that are highly toxic if consumed at excessive levels.
A relatively new niche water called “nursery water” could easily be classified as a scam. A primary difference between this water and other bottled water is that this water has fluoride added. Some dentists have expressed a concern that developing babies and small children do not get adequate fluoride due to increased use of non-fluoridated bottled water for making baby formula and other food products. Therefore, the justification for marketing fluoridated bottled water as nursery water. Now what could be bad with that. Probably nothing, but many dentists believe that fluoride for babies is not an issue yet and the use of fluoridated tap water, if available, is much cheaper. Diseases are easier to spread in a nursery from opened and contaminated bottles of water, whether fluoridated or not, because they carry no residual disinfectant.
If you want to read some real nonsense, just do an Internet search for “willard water” and see what you get. You will get dozens of sites promoting the same catalyst-altered water products. This water will cure everything that ails you by drinking it or heal skin conditions by rubbing it on the skin. Unlike the oxygenated water scams, this water is promoted for its antioxidant capabilities. Different versions of this near magical water ranges in price from about $12 to $18 for an eight oz bottle of the concentrate. CAW Industries Inc., which was started by a Dr. John W. Willard Sr., is located in Rapid City, South Dakota. This water has become so popular that others have copied it and you can now purchase equipment to produce your own catalyst-altered water.
Success of packaged water is driving another potential global drinking water scam—privatization of the drinking water industry. A number of giant corporations already involved in energy, food or international shipping are promoting privatization of public drinking water utilities as a way to upgrade the delivery of safe water in the future, especially to citizens of poor countries. These giant corporations have plans to purchase water rights, privatize public water systems, promote bottled water, and sell bulk water by transporting it from water rich areas to thirsty markets. Fortune Magazine has predicted that water will be the “oil” of the 21 st century and large corporations are rushing to invest in the new get-rich economy of water.
Water treatment scams can generally be considered to be one of two types and may be associated with treating water for health-related contaminants or nuisance-related contaminants.
The categories of health quackery treatment scams listed in this image are similar to those discussed for bottled water health quackery scams.
There are a variety of devices designed to add extra oxygen to water so you can produce your own oxygenated drinking water.
Plain water has a variety of clusters, some of which dominate over others under certain conditions. Charlatans take advantage of this clustering effect, which is due to hydrogen bonding among water molecules, to promote all sorts of whacky ideas and supposedly beneficial aspects of water with different size clusters. Some promote large clusters and some promote small clusters for a variety of reasons, none of which make much sense.
Pictured here are a couple of devices you can purchase to make micro-clustered water—whatever that is.
Once you discover the benefits of ionic or alkaline water, you will surely wish to purchase one of these devices and maybe some alkaline booster too. The idea here is that pure water exists in an ionized form so it can be separated into acidic water and alkaline water. The acidic water is supposed to have built in disinfection capabilities and the alkaline water is supposed to have all sorts of magical benefits. You can read pseudoscience nonsense about acidosis, the primary process that actually kills people. Acidosis can be eliminated and you will live to a ripe old age by drinking alkaline water. An Internet search will reveal companies selling such devices from around $1500 to over $3000.
Ionic water really could be called “snake oil on tap” because you can purchase devices, as illustrated here, which connect directly to a tap to supposedly separate water into acidic and alkaline components. Alkaline water is the really good stuff. The real fact is that you cannot use electrolysis or any other methods to separate water into acidic and alkaline water. All water and all aqueous solutions contain both H+ and OH- ions. If the quantity of H+ exceeds the OH-, the water is said to be acidic. If there are more OH- ions than H+, the water is alkaline. Pure water however, consists almost entirely of H2O molecules loosely arranged in a network like structure in which individual molecules are constantly changing partners. Water molecules do have a tendency to dissociate or ionize into hydrogen ions and hydroxide ions (H2O H+ + OH-), but only to a small degree. This is because the reverse reaction is much more rapid, so that on the average, only a very small fraction of water molecules are dissociated at any given time. No electrical device or addition of a small level of any chemical is capable of significantly increasing the ion concentrations in pure water above a very minute level. For all practical purposes, pure water can be considered to be ion free, as evidenced by the fact that it will not conduct an electric current. However, a wide variety of substances can be dissolved in water. The resulting solution may be neutral or either acidic or alkaline in reference to the level of H+ or OH- ions now present in solution.
There are also bioalkalizers. These are supposed to produce a special biowater that has properties like alkaline water. I am not sure my science understanding is good enough for me to know the difference between biowater and alkaline water.
This picture shows another device available through the Internet for producing biowater.
People have been amazed by magnetism for thousands of years, then came electricity and radioactivity. Each of these forms of energy occur in nature but we have found that electricity and radioactivity can kill us, whereas, exposure to low levels of magnetism does not appear to cause any real harm. There are many beneficial uses of magnetism, but it has been used to perpetrate numerous hoaxes, a number of which relate to drinking water and water treatment scams. Some of the supposedly magical structure-altered or catalyst-altered clustered waters are produced through the use of magnetism. An Internet search on magnetic water treatment will produce some interesting reading, most of which is pure quackery. When water is placed in a magnetic field the molecules will orient to align with the magnetic field. However, as soon as the magnetic field is removed or water moves away from the magnetic field, no permanent changes in individual water molecules of their arrangement can be detected.
There are magnetic devices that you pour water through and magnetic containers to store special magnetically influenced water in until you wish to drink it. There are also magnetic mugs for generating special forms of water. If you can’t afford a special treatment device or even a magnetic mug, perhaps you can afford a magnetic pencil or stirring rod (bottom right) to produce a similar result—nothing.
In this slide you can see a blue water revitalizer in the top picture. This device is suppose to create highly-structured water that can maintain information memory through a 4-year shelf life. Exactly how this device works is a trade secret. It was invented by a Johann Grander. The actual treatment process is referred to as the Grander effect, and that is not a joke. Memory water can supposedly maintain its memory and structure though almost unlimited dilution by transferring that memory to water to which it is added. This is one of the main focuses of homeopathy today. No one who understands even the most basic chemistry is going to fall for this pseudoscience nonsense. The other image represents a kit that can be purchased to add silver to water. Maybe water produced by this kit is comparable to the “Hi-O-Silver” bottled water that was shown earlier. Some activated carbon water filters have been impregnated with silver and marketed as a way to keep bacteria from colonizing them. This has not been proven to work. Such filters must have an EPA registration number on them if they are certified, because silver is considered to be a toxic contaminant, and in this case, a pesticide.
Special energy forms of water is just another type of scam. Some companies make claims that they energize water by adding more electrons to it. This is impossible because you do not have free electrons floating around in water. The other picture is of the Bovis scale, which the authors claim can relate to human life forces. They have supposedly invented a special energy mug that produces Bovis energy-balanced water that can restore your fading life forces as you age. There are a number of drinking water scams based on some special water that is supposed to reduce the effects of aging or restore youth. This type of scam has been around for a long time.
Using scare tactics to sell people treatment devices they do not need or even devices that do not work is another type of water treatment scam. Many people purchase a variety of treatment devices aimed at removal of chlorine and/or fluorine from their publicly supplied drinking water, based on false information. The real fact is that addition of these two chemicals to drinking water has tremendous health benefits. Just look how the death rate from typhoid fever alone dropped off after drinking water chlorination began (top figure). One of the easiest routes to a blood infection as people age is through rotten teeth. When unscrupulous sales representatives use scare tactics associated with these two chemicals in drinking water to convince people to purchase treatment systems to remove them, this is nothing more than a scam.
There is a big movement against fluoridation of public drinking water in the United Kingdom. Excessive fluoride can damage teeth and that is why we have a drinking water standard for fluoride. Most U.S. dentists at this time do not support the anti-fluoridation movement because of the health benefits of fluoridation.
There are a variety or water treatment scams directed at eliminating nuisance problems, even nuisance problems that sometimes do not really exist. People spend millions of dollars buying drinking water treatment equipment over the Internet, often based on misinformation or even lies about what a water test really reveals as a problem. These scams may go hand-in-hand with water testing scams. Do not trust the water test results of a company, whose sales person is trying to sell you some type of expensive water treatment equipment. Have your water tested by an independent laboratory.
There are three types of water testing scams. The second and third were mentioned with the previous slide. The first is where an unscrupulous sales person representing some company uses simple tricks, often voodoo chemistry, in an attempt to convince you to purchase equipment offered by his company. Of course this individual will get a hefty commission on everything he sells. The testing gimmick includes use of the chlorine scare tactic for persons on public water systems. Other tricks deal with showing evidence of iron or hardness minerals in the water. A real favorite on-site trick, even for persons on public water systems, is the ferric hydroxide trick. This is commonly referred to as the iron water scam. People are easily fooled by this iron water scam because they see no chemical added to the water, but see the formation of an ugly iron precipitate in the water that came from their faucet looking perfectly clear a few minutes earlier. However, if you apply a DC current from a simple 9-volt battery across two electrodes in most water, where the anode is iron or contains iron, you can generate some ferric hydroxide in most water in a matter of minutes. This will look pretty bad. Since you saw, nothing added to the water but electrodes, you would be inclined to believe this bad looking stuff is in your water and needs to be removed.
The most common nuisance treatment scam is water conditioning to eliminate hard water problems. Most water conditioners make use of either permanent or electrical magnets. A variety of examples are shown in this slide. The real fact is that these devices may have some minimal impact on pipe scaling, and even that is questionable, but they do not reduce water hardness one iota. Changing the size of water clusters is one of the main claims as to how these devices work. These devices are popular because they are relatively cheap and easy to install (Most just clamp around a water pipe.), so many companies that sell water softeners also sell a variety of water conditioners.
Here is a bigger image of a device that uses a magnetic field generated from an electromagnet. The device is suppose to agitate water molecules thereby producing small clusters from large clusters. This is suppose to produce healthier water and stop scaling, which is most frequently associated with precipitation of calcium carbonate from solution.
There are many water treatment devices that really do work. Filtration is the process used most to purify water. Filtration can be used to remove physical, chemical and biological agents from water. Membrane technology for water purification has improved tremendously within the past 20 years. Today you will hear terms like micro-filtration, ultra-filtration, nano-filtration and hyper-filtration. The better reverse osmosis units make use of pressure greater than that supplied in the water line to force water through very small pores in a membrane. These are capable of hyper-filtration and can remove almost any salt, metal ion or organic chemical from water. However, they waste a good portion of the water being treated.
This slide presents more information on water softening versus water conditioning. Water softening is shown on the left. It is just a cation exchange mechanism. Sodium replaces calcium and magnesium in water as the water flows through a resin column within a tank. The calcium and magnesium is then flushed from the resin column as the resin is recharged with sodium after the resin is backwashed to flush the calcium and magnesium out. Water softeners can also be used to remove low levels of ferrous iron from water. Some companies promote the use of water conditioners and water softeners together as shown on the bottom left photo. Improperly installed water softeners have caused people many headaches. The Montgomery, Alabama Airport installed a water softener in a new traffic control tower a number of years ago. They did not actually need a water softener, but they got scammed by a good sales person who convinced airport management they did. It was plumbed incorrectly and high salt water was sprayed on five special panels of highly-polarized glass, etching the glass and costing the airport over $30,000 in damage. I told them to disconnect this particular unit and throw it away.
Some processes claiming to make use of electrolysis or electrolytic cells are scams but some are not. The picture shown here is the Miox system that produces sodium hypochlorite on-site from a sodium chloride solution. The sodium hypochlorite can then be stored in what is shown as the oxidant tank until it is injected into a water stream for water disinfection. Systems similar to this are commonly used on ships to disinfect desalted seawater. The desalted seawater is usually produced through reverse osmosis.
Some scams are related to water supply or quantity issues instead of quality issues. These type of scams can be placed into four categories. The first two have been practiced for thousands of years and were still very prominent through the 1800s until 1930s. Well drilling scams are relatively new, first developing in the 1800s, but they are still practiced by some shysters today. Water privatization is considered by some to be the greatest water supply scam ever attempted.
Water dowsing, which some people swear by and use today, has been tied to the occult and has no more scientific validity than magnetic water conditioning to prevent scaling. The fact is that you can find ground water almost anywhere if you have the capacity to dig deep enough, but quality is highly variable. Dowsing has been practiced for thousands of years, and even blind people can do it. During most recent years, the technique has been used to find water, oil, lost persons, buried treasure, hidden metal and even golf balls. You can purchase books on the subject and both the USA and Canada have national organizations. Wooden twigs were the dowsing rods of choice to find water for a long time. An Internet search revealed over 300,000 sites on the subject of dowsing.
Dowsing has also been referred to as “water witching” and there have been numerous jokes made about the subject. Most dowsers use a forked stick to find water. The cartoon on the left shows an individual using a divining rod to make sure he can find the swimming pool below the high diving board. The cartoon on the top right shows a dowser being tricked by a magnet. The working force for dowsing is suppose to be some special magnetic energy that draws the divining rod toward water. The individual on the bottom right thinks the size of his forked stick played a role in leading him to water because the rod was so heavy that it could only lead him down hill to where he eventually found water.
Many early cultures believed in rain gods and practiced a variety of rain dances. The picture on the left shows an American Indian tribe doing a rain dance. They had strong beliefs about this because the smoke from the fires that were kept going for days sometimes brought rain. This worked under the right conditions because in reality, some type of small inert particle such as dust or carbon from smoke is essential to initiate the formation of water droplets in clouds. Later on Asian cultures found that they could sometimes cause it to rain by firing rockets into the clouds. Many charlatans once traveled the western U.S. selling their services as rain makers. Most of them were not very successful but this did not prevent them from skipping out with people’s hard-earned money while a drought persisted.
Scientist have found that under the right conditions you can produce rain from certain types of clouds. The invention of airplanes has made this type of climate engineering possible.
A certification program for well drillers has essentially eliminated scam artists from this market. It is a tough and dirty job to drill and complete all the other functions needed for a good water well. If you have plans to drill a well, you would be smart to contact someone on your state list of licensed and certified well drillers.
Over two-thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water and this water gives the planet its blue color. The dust covered planet of Mars on the other hand has a red color. Water is the lifeblood of our planet and the search for life on another planet always begins by looking for the presence of water.
The desire for major multi-national corporations to privatize the drinking water industry has already been mentioned. This may happen someday because no commodity on earth is considered more important than water, especially freshwater. There is potential for literally trillions of dollars to be made in the future through the sale of fresh water.
Airlines, railroads, electricity and telecommunications have gone from government control to private enterprises. Now federal, state and municipal governments around the world are positioning themselves to possibly privatize their water systems. Some people feel the cutting of water management from government purse strings will improve water service and reduce water pollution throughout the world, while others view take over of water management by the private sector as a major mistake. Unlike the other utility services that have gone from the public to the private sector, water is absolutely essential to support all human life. Only time will tell whether this happens and whether it was the correct move or not. The idea has generated much global controversy. The World Bank is a primary supporter of water privatization.
This slide gives some of the basic reasons why water scams work. They work for the same reason that humans fall prey to any other type of scam.
This image lists some of the basic characteristics of scams. Keep these in mind when dealing with a sales person or when you are independently seeking more information about your water and its potential treatment to improve quality.
Drinking Water Scams Regional Ppt Web
Drinking Water Scams by Southern Region Drinking Water Program Team
Objective To make people more aware of the various types of scams associated with drinking water so that they can better recognize a scam or potential scam and know how to deal with it.
Modern Day Drinking Water Scams <ul><li>Bottled water scams </li></ul><ul><li>Health quackery scams </li></ul><ul><li>Water treatment scams </li></ul><ul><li>Water testing scams </li></ul><ul><li>Water supply scams </li></ul>
Bottled Water Industry and Associated Scams <ul><li>All bottled water is not a scam </li></ul><ul><li>Fraudulent vendor claims are scams </li></ul><ul><li>Deception by sales persons are scams </li></ul><ul><li>Special formulations are often scams </li></ul>
New Bottled Water Promotions <ul><li>Designer </li></ul><ul><li>Labeling </li></ul>
Bottled Water—the Good <ul><li>It is convenient and portable </li></ul><ul><li>It is a good diet drink </li></ul><ul><li>Healthier than many drinks containing sugar, caffeine and other additives </li></ul><ul><li>Fits special niches (some are scams) </li></ul>
Bottled Water—the Bad <ul><li>It is very expensive in comparison to tap water </li></ul><ul><li>It is not necessarily better than most tap water </li></ul><ul><li>It is not necessarily safer than most tap water </li></ul><ul><li>Some niche uses are scams </li></ul><ul><li>It is associated with many health quackery scams </li></ul><ul><li>It is associated with push for global privatization </li></ul>
Bottled Water and Health Quackery <ul><li>Bottled water is tied to many health quackery scams </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Structure-altered or clustered water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special oxygenated forms of water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specialized mineral waters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alkaline, ionic or ionized water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special energized forms of water </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Treated with magnetism </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Treated with some form of light </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Treated with sound waves </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Treated with electricity in some way </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Treated with a special catalyst </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Naturally occurring (some remote area) </li></ul></ul></ul>
Bottled Water Health Quackery Scams <ul><li>Oxygenated water nonsense </li></ul>
More on Oxygenated Water Scams <ul><li>Special oxygenated and clustered water found in nature </li></ul>
More Oxygenated Bottled Water Scams <ul><li>Super-oxygenated water – just a super scam </li></ul>
Need a Mineral Supplement, Order it in Your Bottled Water <ul><li>Special mineral water for any element you desire </li></ul>
Other Bottled Water Scams <ul><li>Water for special niches (some are scams) </li></ul>
Other Bottled Water Scams <ul><li>More health quackery nonsense—catalyst altered water </li></ul>
Where Bottled Water is Going <ul><li>Driving interest in global privatization and international vending sales </li></ul>
Two Categories of Water Treatment Scams <ul><li>1. Those convincing consumers to purchase treatment devices that do not work </li></ul><ul><li>2. Those convincing consumers to purchase treatment devices they do not need </li></ul><ul><li>There are scams associated with remedying both health and nuisance problems </li></ul>
Water Treatment and Health Quackery Scams <ul><li>Devices that produce oxygenated, super-oxygenated or antioxidant water </li></ul><ul><li>Devices that produce special structure-altered or special clustered water </li></ul><ul><li>Devices that produce alkaline or ionic forms of water </li></ul><ul><li>Devices that produce water with some special form of energy or other magical properties </li></ul>
Nuisance-Related Water Treatment Scams <ul><li>Often associated with water testing scams </li></ul><ul><li>Treatment needs are often misrepresented on the Internet </li></ul><ul><li>Unscrupulous sales reps often rely on a consumer’s ignorance of water treatment </li></ul><ul><li>A sales rep may even utilize Consumer Confidence Reports to aid in selling treatment devices </li></ul><ul><li>Installed treatment systems can sometimes cause problems </li></ul><ul><li>Very expensive treatment systems may come with an expensive maintenance agreement or no maintenance agreement at all </li></ul>
Three Types of Water Testing Scams <ul><li>On-site demonstration tricks </li></ul><ul><li>Misinterpretation of lab test results </li></ul><ul><li>Fake lab test results </li></ul>
Magnetic Water Conditioners for Treating Scale and Hard Water
Many Water Treatment Devices Work Fine <ul><li>Filtration through some media, and more recently, through porous membranes with or without added pressure, is the technique most used in water treatment. </li></ul>
Expect to Hear More About Privatization in the Future
Why Drinking Water Scams Work <ul><li>Because survival is more important to us than truth, logic and reason </li></ul><ul><li>Because we are prone to be superstitious and use irrational thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Because many people are scientifically illiterate and cannot tell the difference between science and pseudoscience </li></ul><ul><li>Because science education does not equilibrate to logical and critical thinking </li></ul>
Basic Characteristics of Drinking Water Scams <ul><li>Like most scams, they sound too good to be true </li></ul><ul><li>They are not based on clear proven scientific principles </li></ul><ul><li>They have no peer-reviewed reputable support literature </li></ul><ul><li>They have testimonials from crackpots who promote pseudoscience </li></ul><ul><li>They have fake testimonials from satisfied customers </li></ul><ul><li>There is pressure to purchase or invest immediately </li></ul>
Where to Report Drinking Water Scams <ul><li>Any type of scam </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Report to local sheriff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report to state attorney general office </li></ul></ul><ul><li>False health and product labeling </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Report to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fraudulent mail </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Report to U.S. Postal Service </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fraudulent marketing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Report to U.S. Federal Trade Commission </li></ul></ul>
Reporting Scams Through Internet <ul><li>U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.fda.gov/medwatch </li></ul></ul><ul><li>U.S. Postal Service </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/MailFraudComplaint.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>U.S. Federal Trade Commission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.consumer.gov/ </li></ul></ul>
For More Information on Drinking Water Scams and Other Scams <ul><li>Local Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sheriff’s office, district attorney’s office or consumer protection offices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public water system representatives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>County Cooperative Extension Offices </li></ul></ul>
For More Information on Drinking Water Scams and Other Scams <ul><li>State Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumer protection unit of state attorney general’s office </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>State primacy agency that enforces the Safe Drinking Water Act </li></ul></ul>
For More Information on Drinking Water Scams and Other Scams <ul><li>Federal Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bureau of Consumer Protection of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.consumer.gov </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/safewater </li></ul></ul>
For More Information on Drinking Water Scams <ul><li>Over 50 Scam Links on Alabama Water Quality Information Website </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.aces.edu/waterquality/links/links_list_sub.php3?Code=138 </li></ul><ul><li>Reliable Internet Information on Fraud </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumer Fraud Watch Network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.consumersgroup.com/crimewatch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Net Scams Online Protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.netscams.com/scams.jsp </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National Fraud Information Center </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.fraud.org/ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal Information on Scams and Fraud http://www.cobrands.public.findlaw.com </li></ul></ul>