Don’t fall for snake oil’s claims about “structured water”. A chemist explains why this is nonsense


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Is there a “fourth section of water”? Every so often, you might even see folks speaking concerning the well being advantages of the so-called hexagonal water, structured water, or exclusion zone (EZ) water.

A couple of weeks in the past, Kourtney Kardashian’s Poosh web site was producing a $2,500 “regulated water filter.” Final weekend, Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald took half within the occasion, publishing a now-deleted story about the benefits of “structured water”.

what is going on?

As a chemistry professor, I can inform you that “EZ water” is nonsense. However let’s discuss what it is imagined to be and the way it’s imagined to work.

What’s EZ Water?

EZ Water has its origins in notes by Gerald Pollack, a professor of bioengineering on the College of Washington. He was learning the conduct of water close to “hydrophilic” surfaces, which encompass supplies with a robust affinity for water.

Pollack discovered that water pushes away objects akin to microplastic balls, salt, and even dye particles from the world close to the extremely hydrophilic floor.

Pollack’s rationalization for this conduct is that the construction of the water adjustments within the “exclusion zone”.

Whereas water molecules encompass two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (with the acquainted components H₂O), Pollack believes that EZ water accommodates an additional hydrogen atom and an additional oxygen atom (components H₃O₂). This transformation is meant to end in a detrimental electrical cost and a hexagonal lattice association of the atoms within the water.

Hydrophilic surfaces are discovered within the cells of the human physique, so some have argued that EZ water is “extra pure” than plain water, and subsequently ought to have a number of well being advantages.

False well being claims

The now-deleted Sydney Morning Herald article interviewed a supposed knowledgeable within the science of water construction known as Rob Gourlay.

He makes a number of widespread claims about structured water: it is extra pure, has a detrimental electrical cost, flows into our cells sooner than common water, and has many different supposed well being advantages.

Though the article fails to say it, a fast search reveals Robert Gourlay’s job title as “Chief Scientist” at an organization known as Phi’on, which sells water structuring units.

From affordable to absurd

Let’s check out these claims. Some are affordable, others are preposterous.

We all know that water behaves otherwise close to an interface with one other substance, as a result of it now not simply interacts with different water molecules. Floor stress is a well-known instance of this phenomenon.

We additionally know that water behaves otherwise whether it is confined to a really small area, on the dimensions of 1 billionth of a metre.

As such, there isn’t a explicit motive to instantly doubt Pollack’s experimental findings concerning the conduct of water within the “exclusion zone”. It’s actually fascinating, and plenty of elements have been reproduced.

However Pollack’s explanations for the conduct are unfounded.

observe the atoms

If the water someway adjustments to the type of H₃O₂, easy calculations present that changing two molecules of H₂O to one in every of H₃O₂ will depart an additional hydrogen atom floating round.

We count on to see this hydrogen launched as H₂ gasoline. As an alternative, the response might want to usher in extra oxygen from the air. A easy experiment will present that none of this occurs.

EZ water, for all its fascinating properties, can solely be H₂O. Pollack doesn’t recommend the H₃O₂ construction in a peer-reviewed publication, and different explanations have been provided to clarify his printed experimental outcomes.

And the hexagonal construction of H₃O₂ that Pollack proposes, if it have been steady and strong, wouldn’t circulation like a liquid.

Water has no reminiscence

However suppose that the water within the exclusion zone had a particular construction. Can it’s packaged and preserve its properties?

All indicators level to no.

In water with a impartial pH (neither acidic nor alkaline), roughly one molecule in each billion accommodates an additional hydrogen atom that has jumped out of one other molecule. This creates a positively charged H₃O+ ion and one negatively charged OH ion.

The additional protons (H+) that make H₃O+ Ions are extremely cellular – they shortly bounce from one molecule to a different. This occurs so shortly that every of the hydrogen atoms in a given water molecule is changed 1,000 instances each second.

There are additionally short-lived sights between the oxygen atoms of 1 molecule and the hydrogen atoms of a neighboring molecule known as “hydrogen bonds”. In liquid water at room temperature, these bonds final solely a millionth of a millionth of a second.

The fast motion of hydrogen atoms, flashing out and in of hydrogen bonds, meant that any construction in EZ water would dissipate in a short time. In massive portions, water forgot its neighbors inside picoseconds and swapped hydrogen atoms in milliseconds. That is why it’s liquid.

Experiments utilizing intense laser pulses to disrupt the water’s construction have additionally proven that it recovers inside picoseconds. So any water construction that differs from the standard form that flows from our faucets lasts no quite a lot of millionths of a millionth of a second.

water is water

So what does all of it add? Merely put, no different kind of water could be bought apart from plain water. You possibly can change the pH, you may change the ions and dissolved gases, however not the water itself.

Snake oil sellers who promote structured water merchandise use phrases that appear scientifically meaningless generally and are based mostly at greatest on misinterpretations and violations of Pollack’s experiments.

Pollack distances himself from most corporations that promote structured water merchandise. He has his personal structured water firm, which amongst different merchandise sells “filtered water with no filter”.

Mapping the potential power surfaces of water for the primary time

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