There are a many different ionizing water filters on the market today sold under different brands. Some are sold through retail channels and others are sold through network marketing. At the outset, it should be understood that this article is not about any specific ionizing filter, but, instead focuses on the basic physics and chemistry related to the ideas of micro-cluster water and alkaline water. The companies that sell these filters create impressive demos that seem to make sense, but really count on your not being a chemist or physicist who knows the actual properties of water. Here are the simple science facts.
The Myth of Alkalinity
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no solid scientific research that proves any health benefits from drinking alkaline water. In fact, the digestive system requires acidity for certain chemical reactions to take place. There is certainly no scientific research that supports the claims like alkaline water cures cancer. Investigate the claims of research by filter manufacturers and you will discover that a lot of it is really manufactured for marketing purposes.
We are all familiar with the famous chemical symbol H2O for water. It means that water consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The interesting thing about water is that based solely on its atomic weight, it should be a gas instead of a liquid at normal temperatures… but water is a liquid because it has an extremely interesting molecular configuration. The two hydrogen atoms fix themselves on one side of the oxygen atom with an angle of a little over a hundred degrees between them. That means that one side of the molecule is dominated by the oxygen atom and one side is dominated by the hydrogen atoms. The result is that one side of the atom tends to have a positive charge and the other side of the atom tends to have a negative charge, and that leads to two interesting phenomena.
First, when you get a bunch of water molecules around each other they will have a tendency to stick together because the positive side of one molecule will be electrically attracted to the negative side of another molecule. They stick together in what are called water molecule clusters. These clusters are the reason that water is a liquid. The molecules stick together creating a liquid instead of a gas. It’s a simple concept. The light water molecules that should individually be gaseous effectively become heavier by sticking together.
The second phenomena is that the water molecules also tend to get ions of other substances floating around in the middle of all the water. That’s why so many things dissolve in it and why it is the medium for the biochemical reactions in the body. An ion is a molecule that is either negative because it has extra electrons or positive because it has given up some electrons. Water is a good medium for chemical solutions because many ionic substances love this bi-polar nature of the water molecules. The important thing to remember is that many things, including water contaminants exists as ions in the water.
Now to the claims of some water filters. First let’s discuss the idea of micro-clusters of water molecule. The claim is that the filter causes the water to form clusters that have fewer numbers of molecules and that that makes the water less sticky, therefore wetter and more able to hydrate the cells of the body. It sort of sounds like it makes sense doesn’t it? Well, the problem is that any given cluster of water exists for about one one trillionth of a second. Nobody can even see a given cluster and even if the filters did create smaller clusters, those clusters would last one one trillionth of a second, so drink really fast. These filters cannot change the basic physics and chemistry of water to shift from creating larger clusters to smaller clusters in the trillionth of a second interactions. The science is just not valid. So forget the micro-clusters.
Now let’s turn to ionizing water and creating alkaline water. No machine can actually separate water molecules into acid water molecules and alkaline water molecules. Think about it. H2O is H2O is H2O. No machine can single out a molecule and say, “OK Mister H20, you’re going to be acidic.” and then pick another molecule and say, “Whoa little H2O, you’re going to be alkaline.” It just doesn’t work that way. These machines are not making the water molecules acidic and alkaline. They’re just water molecules plain and simple. Remember those ions of stuff swimming around among the water molecules? Remember that some had positive charges and some had negative charges? Well, it isn’t so difficult to put these ions into an electromagnetic field and get the positive ions to flow in one direction and the negative ions to flow in the other direction. The ionizing filters have two outputs. It’s easy to put two and two together here. What the filters really do is separate the ions in the water according to their electrical properties.
Whether an ion is positive or negative is determined by the valence of the atom which depends on the number of electrons it its outer shell. The ion will either like to give away electrons or take on electrons. That is also what determines if something is acidic or alkaline. So these filters can legitimately claim to create an alkaline stream, but what’s really happening is that you are moving one group of ions into the so called alkaline water stream and the other group of ions into the acid water stream. It’s not the water molecules becoming acidic or alkaline.
Alkalized Water Safety
Remember that many water contaminants exist as ions in the water. The obvious question is whether any of the seriously dangerous contaminants exist with the ionic charge that makes them go into what’s called the alkaline water stream because if they do the ionizer is actually making the water less safe to drink by concentrating the bad ions. Unfortunately, the answer is that some very harmful contaminants actually do concentrate in the alkaline stream. For example, both trivalent and pentavalent arsenic will go into the alkaline water stream. Arsenic is known to produce cancer and birth defects.The ionizing water filter actually increases the concentration of arsenic in the water that you drink. This is a huge problem because most ionizing filters do not have sufficient filtration before ionization toremove the arsenic. If they did, then many other types of ions would also be likely to be removed and there wouldn’t be much of an alkaline water stream at all since the ions would be gone.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t fall for any of the amazing claims that filters make about creating some kind of super water. It is really pseudo science, and the sad thing is that because of the redox reactions that really can happen in your body when you start using ionizing filters, you might think you feel better even if the water is making you very ill in the long run. The thing to look for is a water treatment system that will provide you with safe, clean water to drink and not magic water. Ponce De Leon didn’t find the fountain of youth and neither will you find the magic water filter. Clean, safe water is what you body is designed for and, frankly, your body will take care of you if you just give it water that isn’t contaminated.