At least 25 people poisoned by toxic alkaline water, says FDA

Originally published at: At least 25 people poisoned by toxic alkaline water, says FDA | Boing Boing


I get tired of the lack of criminal liability and prosecution for what should be considered criminal negligence. :frowning:


Reminds me of the people who recommend a mixture of vinegar and baking soda as a homemade cleaning agent, one where what you actually get after the base/acid reaction is just either much less baking soda or much less vinegar. Pick one instead. Or use them sequentially, so that you can get the light abrasive action of the baking soda first. But mixing them seems like ingredient wasting theatrics.



I’m surprised that they managed to sell something dangerous, since previously they were basically selling tap water. Possibly some contamination in the process?


…drinking water that poisoned 25 people, including five children who suffered liver failure…

WFT!!! I presume that lawyers are clamouring to take up these cases for a big pay-out. Those poor kids; having their young lives fucked up by slack quality control. :sob:


Soooo how alkaline has the water got to be before it is dangerous?

Lots of water in Kansas is very alkaline, being pulled from aquifers that filtered down through limestone. But it was never so bad to be dangerous, that I know of.


“Radium Water”-- my first thought too.

My second thought: soda pop originated as a “health tonic.”

(And “soda” is the common name for alkali, weirdly.)

I think this is why in New England a lot of corner stores are still called “spas”-- they started out as druggists and soda fountains.



Snake oil will always find a buyer, history tells us so.


Their quality control was so non-existent that authorities still apparently don’t know what was in the water that caused liver toxicity. They did more than just add lye to it.

According to the DOJ’s complaint, the Joneses processed municipal tap water “by carbon filtration, reverse osmosis filtration, ultraviolet light filtration, and ozone filtration.” Then they mixed the water with potassium hydroxide (a form of lye), potassium bicarbonate (sometimes used in baking powders), and magnesium chloride (a salt used in nutritional supplements and for de-icing roads).

Last, the company claimed to the DOJ that it used a "proprietary ‘ionizer’ apparatus to apply an electrical current to this mixture, which allegedly creates positively-charged and negatively-charged solutions. [The Joneses] then discard the positively-charged solution and store the negatively-charged solution.

The article is worth a quick read.


So is Paltrow actually a brackish water aficianado and not an alkaline water aficionado?

I believe she’s actually what’s known as “an idiot.”


Right!?! I think people see bubbles and assume it’s reacting with whatever they’re trying to clean. I’ve never understood this and no one seems to have a credible answer for what, exactly it’s accomplishing.

It’s not the alkalinity per se, but whatever they’re adding to make it alkaline. Most water from aquifers contain calcium carbonate, a necessary nutrient, and other common minerals that impact alkalinity. My suspicion is that the just dumped in a shit ton of calcium taking the “more is better” approach and gave these kids hemochromatosis. Naturally occurring alkalinity is totally fine.

Hemochromatosis - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

ETA: @Skeptic beat me to it and actually bothered to read the link.


The linked article seems to suggest strongly that this may have been the case. It is not clear what was actually in the bottles, or how the manufacturing process was being managed. And now the FDA would like . . . answers.


When I was 17/18 I worked for a sketchy moving company in Edmonton. The owner was a pure blooded crook of the first order.*

Of the many scams he casually perpetrated, one of them was to pay us to fill bottles of ‘Alberta Pure’ bottled water directly from the tap in the warehouse. He’d then ship truckloads of it down to the US to sell.

Nothing wrong with the water, it was tested, chlorinated and treated by the municipality. But it was definitely nothing special. The only thing true about the claims on the packaging was that it was from Alberta (the North Saskatchewan River by way of the treatment plant).

*We once moved his mother, who gushed about the great deal her son was giving her, which was double our usual rates. Yes, he also ripped me off when I quit.


Odds are there was zero quality control, high turnover in employees with no one understanding what was going on. One day the new guy added a bucket of the wrong type of salt, or figured if he added a barrel he could fuck off for the rest of the week, or some tubing broke and leaked something dangerous into the end product and no one was inspecting it.


Speaking of gimmicky water. I’ve seen ads, in the back of science magazines, no less, that advertised a machine that would change the angle of the bonds of the atoms to make it healthier. Or some such nonsense. It was one of those gishgallop ads where they throw so much at you, you don’t know where to even start. The guy who invented it is some genius wunderkind who cured his own cancer, and the supposed benefits is all very scientific and over your head.

Oh - I found the site. The front page makes as much sense as Time Cube, but here is the biography.


From a prior article on ars technica:


Just eat baking soda. That’s why it’s in the refrigerator.


Isn’t there a legitimate purpose for such a solution in cleaning coins? I seem to recall reading that legitimate attempts to study the precise chemistry involved revealed it to be one of those weird, surprisingly-complex things surrounded by some uncertainty. Alas, I cannot find an appropriate link at the moment.

And of course just because it’s useful for cleaning coins doesn’t mean it’s useful for other things. And apparently serious coin collectors shun the process anyway.


Your stomach is pretty indifferent as to whether you’re drinking acidic or alkaline liquids. Once they get there they all become acidic. Electrolysing water with chloride in isn’t the smartest thing as you’ll generate hypochlorite ions (bleach).