Is there any Evidence that Ionized Water causes Cancer & Why?
Retired Chemist Stephen Lower’s chem1 website is often cited as a source of skepticism about health claims
made for alkaline water. But what people who use that site as evidence to support their skepticism don’t know is that the chem1 site makes a few outrageous health claims of it’s own, such as suggesting that there is evidence that ionized water could cause cancer. Stephen Lower dresses this ridiculous assertion up with a discussion about how hypochlorous acid can lead to the formation of 5-chlorocytosine, which is believed (but not proven in any study) to suppress some genes that inhibit cell proliferation and tumor growth. The problem with that statement is: There is no hypochlorous acid in ionized alkaline water, because any acidic compounds are discharged from the acidic water outlet of a water ionizer.
Does Stephen Lower understand how a water ionizer works?
No. Lower makes claims about water ionizers that don’t make any sense, for example. He says that water ionizers don’t work because “pure water can’t be ionized.” But the fact is, water ionizers don’t use pure water – they use tap water, which has minerals in it.
Interestingly enough, Stephen Lower mentions further down the page that a water ionizer could work: “If the regions near the two electrodes are surrounded by a semipermeable barrier that inhibits the diffusion of these ions into the bulk of water, small local excesses can build up” That is exactly how a water ionizer works! There is an ion-permeable membrane that separates the electrode plates in a water ionizer. It is the reason water ionizers make alkaline and acidic ionized water at the same time! How does Stephen Lower not know this?
Lower doubles down on his original claim by saying “pure water can never be alkaline or acidic, nor can it be made so by electrolysis, alkaline water must contain metallic ions of some kind – most commonly sodium, calcium, or magnesium.” Way to state the obvious, Captain Obvious! Alkaline water made by a water ionizer does contain metallic ions, most commonly calcium and magnesium.
Perhaps the most ridiculous claim Lower makes is: ‘Many “water ionizer” devices depend on the addition of ordinary salt to make the water more conductive.’ False! Life Ionizers has been distributing and building drinking water ionizers since 1996. In that time, exactly zero of our ionizers have used salt. In fact, Life Ionizers recommends strongly against using salt additives – or any chemical additives – in a water ionizer. But Lower doesn’t let facts get in his way, he then starts making outrageous and unproven claims – the exact thing he accuses water ionizer companies of doing – about hypochlorous acid and water ionizers
Are there Hypochlorous Acid Ions in Alkaline Water?
After making false claims about how a water ionizer works, Stephen Lower builds on those false claims to argue that alkaline water contains hypochlorous acid, it doesn’t because it can’t. He uses a poorly drawn image of the electrolysis process to make his point:
The illustration correctly shows that hypochlorous ions – if present – would attracted to the positive plate in a water ionizer. That’s true, but look at the bottom of his illustration, where it says: “mix to obtain desired pH”
False! No water ionizer mixes the alkaline and acidic water it makes to adjust pH. Water ionizers adjust pH by increasing or decreasing the current going to the electrode plates. Plus, he bases his claim on the use of a sodium chloride solution. As I mentioned earlier, no drinking water ionizer uses a sodium chloride solution to make alkaline drinking water – none! Water ionizers do not use salt to make alkaline drinking water, and they do NOT mix the alkaline and acidic water they produce – that simply is not done by any brand of water ionizer.
I have worked with many brands of water ionizer here at Life Ionizers: The Kangen machine, Chanson, The Vesta machine, you name it. I have worked with older machines built in the 90’s tested the newest and most technologically advanced ionizers on the market today, and I’ve even helped design and build prototype water ionizer systems to test new technologies. So I can say for a fact: No residential drinking water ionizer uses salt to make alkaline drinking water.
Water Ionizers that use salt don’t use it to make drinking water
There are some water ionizers that do have a port to add salt to the water, but the companies that make those machines make it very clear: Ionized water made with salt is for cleaning and disinfection – it is NEVER to be consumed. One example of a machine like this is the Kangen machine, it uses a salt solution to make “Strong” Kangen ionized water, and the company that makes the machine, Enagic, makes it very clear, in bold lettering, on the company website:
“This water is not for drinking”
Life Ionizers believes based on laboratory testing that you should never use salt in a water ionizer that is used to make drinking water. That is why we don’t put salt injector ports on our drinking water ionizers. Instead, for people who want to make cleaning and disinfecting solutions, we sell a specialty water ionizer called a Batch water ionizer for that.
NEVER Drink Alkaline Water made with Salt!
It can’t be said enough: If you put salt into a water ionizer, it makes chlorine, DO NOT drink alkaline water made with salt. All of the medical claims that Stephen Lower makes about the harm that the hypochlorite ion could do to health are true. That is the reason that no residential Life drinking water ionizer allows you to use salt. It’s dangerous so we do not allow it – ever!
Stephen Lower correctly points out: “Hypochlorous acid HOCl (always present even in alkaline hypocrite solutions) (sic) is now known to trigger a number of cellular processes connected with cancer.” But it is very clear that Lower has never actually tested a water ionizer, or conducted any kind of chemistry research on water ionizers, or he would know that no water ionizer company uses a salt additive to make alkaline drinking water.
After Lower finishes claiming that alkaline water causes cancer, he finishes by saying he didn’t say that it causes cancer! ‘This is certainly not to say that “ionized water causes cancer”, but there is far more evidence for this than for the patently false claims by Kangen and others that it prevents cancer.’ What evidence? Where? Google it (I did) You can’t find anything, no clinical trials, no case studies, and most importantly, no reports of that happening. I can prove Stephen Lower is wrong.
Water Ionizers have been in use for over 40 years
Cancer is a disease that develops over time. In fact, if you are exposed to carcinogens, it can take 20 – 30 years for symptoms of cancer to develop. Water ionizers have been in use for over 40 years, as many as one out of every three homes in Japan has one! If ionized alkaline water caused cancer, we’d have heard about it by now. In fact, we’d have more than just heard about it: If any product causes a person to get cancer, that person would sue the manufacturer of that product. If water ionizers had caused anyone to get cancer:
- The Korean, Japanese & other countries FDA would not approve them like they now do
- The company that made the machine would get sued out of existence
- The mainstream medical establishment would denounce ionizers as dangerous
- Public authorities would move to outlaw the machines
People have been drinking alkaline ionized water made by water ionizers for over 40 years. Studies that have been conducted show a variety of health benefits. It is plainly obvious to even the casual observer that alkaline drinking water made by a water ionizer is 100% safe, and there are over 40 studies that suggest that drinking it has health benefits and is good for you.
An Open Message for Stephen Lower
On your chem1 website, you claim that what motivated you to speak out is your love of chemistry. You said that you cannot bear to see people distort and abuse it for their own gain. I agree with you.
I challenge you to provide actual evidence to support your claims. Show me the following:
- A water ionizer company that recommends using salt to make drinking water
- Research that shows alkaline water made by a water ionizer could cause cancer
- A drinking water ionizer that mixes it’s acid and alkaline water streams
- An actual consumer that sued a water ionizer company for giving them cancer
- Any tap water supply that consists of pure water
Stephen, please take my money: I have $1000.00 that says you can’t show me any of those things. You can call me at the number listed below, I’m here Monday through Friday, from 6 AM to 2:30 PM, Pacific Time.
I agree with you about the claims made by Kangen water multi-level marketers
“Microclustered” or “restructured” water? Pure bunk. Active hydrogen? Doesn’t exist in nature (for more than a picosecond or two). Multi-level marketing scams that use sales literature with false and misleading claims? Check, I’ve seen it myself. Misrepresentation of Otto Warburg’s Nobel-prize winning research. All true. I strongly believe that companies like Enagic Kangen need to stop making false and outrageous claims. But you’re not helping matters by doing the same thing!
I urge you to correct the information on your chem1 site to accurately reflect how water ionizers work. I would be happy to consult with you so you can see in great detail how these machines actually work. Your site debunks many false claims made by the many actual water scams that are out there. But you impeach your credibility by using false claims yourself. Learn More
Confused about something you read about ionized water or water ionizers? Call us at 877-959-7977 and we’ll clear it up for you.
Lower, Stephen. “Ionized” and Alkaline Water.” : Snake Oil on Tap. Self-published, n.d. Web. 29 June 2016. http://www.chem1.com/CQ/ionbunk.html