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Old 6th August 2003, 02:57 PM   #1
JSFolk
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Penta water.. help with debunking

Hiya all.

Upon going to my local grocery store and seeing a display of Penta water for sale, I fired off a nasty-gram to the store calling it "pseudoscience" and chastising them for carrying this stuff and foisting it off on their customers. They then forwarded my email to the CEO of Penta, and I got the following in response:

Dear Mr. (me),

I have received a copy of your complaint concerning claims on our brochure stating that Penta water has a unique molecular structure and is absorbed faster by the cells. I regret that you feel we have deceived you in our claims. Penta water is a new discovery that many people such as yourself may not yet be familiar with. I am attaching copies of the scientific reports that are the basis of our claims demonstrating increased cellular hydration from Penta water. In addition I would like to extend an invitation to you to visit our facility in San Diego to see first hand for yourself that Penta water is not just ordinary filtered water.

Penta water is manufactured under Patent No: US 6,521,248 for both process and composition of matter. While it is relatively easy to obtain a process patent, it is extremely difficult to obtain a composition of matter patent, requiring proof of a new composition of matter. Penta water has been reviewed by the scientific community and published in scientific journals a copy of which is attached. In addition the General Physics Institute has just this week submitted a paper on the structure of Penta water to Nature Magazine for publication. I would like to offer you a free case of Penta water for you to try so you may see first hand the difference in Penta water. If you would like to try Penta water please provide me with shipping instructions so we may send you a free case to try.

Should you have any additional questions please feel free to give me a call at 1-800-531-5088 Ext 108 Bill Holloway

Best regards,

Bill Holloway
CEO/Inventor

He included two .doc files, one being....

"STUDY OF CLUSTER MOLECULAR STRUCTURES
IN VARIOUS TYPES OF LIQUID WATERS
USING SPONTANEOUS RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY

A.F._Bunkin, A.A._Nyrmatov, and S.M._Pershin
Wave Research Center, General Physics Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, 38 Vavilov Street,
Moscow 119991, Russia"

and the other....

"Hydration Rate of Penta Water compared with Non-processed Water Through Liposome and AQP-1 Proteoliposome Lipid Bilayer Membranes


COLLABORATIVE STUDY
Bio-Hydration Research Lab, Inc.,
Scripps Research Institute,
University of California, San Diego

May 22, 2002 San Diego, CA USA"

Now, I know this stuff is crap, and I know someone out there can tell me why this stuff is crap. If anyone wants to see the actual .doc files, I'll be happy to email them to you or post the entire contents here (although I don't know how the graphs would come out).

Thanks!
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Old 6th August 2003, 03:26 PM   #2
ceptimus
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I just went to the JREF Homepage and typed (without the quotes) "penta water" in the 'search box' at the top right of the screen, and clicked the 'search' button. Turns out Randi has covered this topic in his commentary plenty of times over the last two years.

But they're still selling the stuff
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Old 6th August 2003, 04:43 PM   #3
patnray
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I was curious about the "Spontaneous Raman Spectroscopy" so I Googled it:

It is "the production of side bands in the frequency distribution of scattered quasimonochromatic light."

From scienceworld.wolfram.com: "It can occur because a molecule may exist in a number of possible vibration modes, so the energy levels of electrons are not completely degenerate, but may be split into a number of very closely spaced levels. Therefore, it is possible for an electron to be excited to a quasi-stable energy level (not allowed by a first order analysis of quantum mechanics), then decay back to a slightly different energy level. This description is strictly heuristic, as the precise mechanism can only be expressed in the language of quantum mechanics."

Water is a very interesting molecule. In liquid water, hydrogen "bonds" form between hydrogen atoms in one molecule and oxygen atoms in other molecules. Aggregates of 2 or more atoms are constantly forming and breaking up. A small number of molecules dissociate into OH- and H+ ions (the H+ immediately forms an H3O+ complex called hydronium). There are lots of vibrational states for any collection of ordinary water molecules, so I have no idea what this kind of spectroscopy is supposed to tell us about Penta Water. I wonder if the authors of that study could distinguish Penta Water from ordinary water if they did not know which was which...
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Old 6th August 2003, 06:48 PM   #4
BTox
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Every single water product like this is a scam. Here is one site (there are others) on water scams in general:

water scams

Penta water is nothing but highly purified, deionized and oxygenated water, which is no better or worse for you (but natural hard water certainly tastes better). They show in vitro how cells hydrate faster with it than regular water ... proving nothing more than osmotic pressure with DI water is higher than water with solutes in it. Of course, as soon as you drink it, it gets mixed with saliva and stomach fluids and is no longer deionized. And the oxygenation aspect is another ridiculous scam.
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Old 6th August 2003, 07:18 PM   #5
JSFolk
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ARrrrgggg.. That damn water scams site was down yesterday when I was looking for information about Penta water, and every site I found searching for "clustered water" referred back to that site. Oh well... Anyway, I sent a letter back to Mr. Holloway...

Mr. Holloway,

I have no desire for you to ship a case of your water to me, as I can get water easily from my kitchen tap. Submission of a paper to Nature is not impressive... acceptance of said paper is. What would be equally (if not more) impressive would be if your company were to follow through with and win the testing protocol you agreed to with the James Randi Education Foundation in 2001. It seems to me that with your company's continued success the financial difficulties you mentioned as a reason not to assign resources to passing the test should have waned, and you could easily assign or designate a person to oversee the testing. As you have already agreed that the protocols described in 2001 would be a fair test of your product, and one it could easily pass, there should be no difficulty in your winning the "Million Dollar Challenge". Upon winning the challenge, I will be happy to purchase, at full retail price, a full case of your water, and I will recommend to everyone that I know that they follow suit.

For Mr. Sigovich*, a record of said testing protocol, Mr. Holloway's acceptance, and his failure to follow through can be found here:
http://www.randi.org/jr/08-24-01.html and in the following week
http://www.randi.org/jr/08-31-01.html

Details of the James Randi Educational Foundation's Million Dollar Challenge can be found here:
http://www.randi.org/research/challenge.html

Sincerely,
(me)

*Mr Sigovich is the person from the grocery store that gave my name and address to the folks at Penta
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Old 6th August 2003, 10:14 PM   #6
UnrepentantSinner
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There's other threads on Penta as well. Here's the "all forums" search results.
http://host.randi.org/vbulletin/sear...der=descending

Both your initial and follow up letters are exellent. Shame you're probably only going to get form replies from Penta. How about writing to levels of management at your grocers to see how they feel about selling snake oil? Of course they might also sell Zycam, so they may not care.
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Old 7th August 2003, 03:12 AM   #7
Svante
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Did he say in which journals the already published report(s) appeared in?
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Old 7th August 2003, 05:19 AM   #8
JSFolk
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Svante, that is the complete text of the email from Holloway, and the titles of the two attached MS Word documents.

I should point out, btw, that "Bio Hydration Research Lab, Inc" is the name of the company that sells Penta, not of an actual research lab.
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Old 7th August 2003, 06:13 AM   #9
Quasi
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They need to use the RAMAN in conjunction with
Differential Scanning Calorimetry to see the hydrogen bonding, then use regular, deionized purified water using the standard methods as a control to see if it "holds water." Then run a blind test and see if the kooks can find their own product. Also, changing the rate of water absorption radically in the body would be very bad- your cells would swell and burst! Of course, it is nothing more than expensive bottled water.
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Old 7th August 2003, 06:24 AM   #10
arcticpenguin
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Quote:
Originally posted by Svante
Did he say in which journals the already published report(s) appeared in?
Note that the two reports mentioned appear NOT to have been published in peer-review journals. If they had, that certainly would have been mentioned and the journal name, volume and page info listed.
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Old 7th August 2003, 06:36 AM   #11
MRC_Hans
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Might I point out, on the side, that even being PUBLISHED in a peer reviewed journal is by no means a blue stamp. While such journals do weed out obviously bad papers, they do not by themselves take any scientific position on the paper.

The real crunch is the peer review, where other scientists comment, duplicate and crosstest. So even when they brandish a paper published in a respected journal, ask for the feed-back from the scientific community.

Of course, you might say that the makers of Penta Water do not have any peers in the scientific community

Hans
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Old 7th August 2003, 02:38 PM   #12
Dragonrock
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JSFolk, your letter to the store has inspired me to email a local radio show that advertises Penta water. Here's a copy of the email I sent.

Mark,

I recently noticed that you are running Penta water advertisements during your show. All the claims made by Penta Water are the worst form of pseudo-scientific jargon that attempt to impress people by using fancy sounding words. You have always been rather skeptical in the views you express during your show and this gives the Penta water commercials a false sense of legitimacy because of your reputation. The following site http://www.chem1.com/CQ/clusqk.html speaks in clear scientific terms about the false claims that Penta water makes.
Penta also claims to have a patent as though this gives any legitimacy to their claims. The following items also have been granted patents. You can go to this site http://www.uspto.gov/ and search on the patent numbers.

A method of swinging.
US patent # 6,368,227

Toast with butter
US patent # 6,080,436

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off
US patent #6,004,596

The claims made by Penta water have never been tested under proper scientific scrutiny. They were offered one million dollars by the James Randi Educational Foundation if they prove that their claims were correct. After accepting the challenge they reneged, claiming that they did not have the time or money to pursue the claim. Here are links discussing the offer and Penta’s reply.

Part 1 http://www.randi.org/jr/08-24-01.html
Part 2 http://www.randi.org/jr/08-31-01.html

Specific information about the James Randi Educational Foundation One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge can be found here http://www.randi.org/research/index.html .

I understand your need for advertisement, but I hope you rethink allowing your show to become a mouthpiece for the blatant falsehoods of Penta water.

Thank you for your attention in this matter,
(me)
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Old 7th August 2003, 03:04 PM   #13
ceptimus
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Nice email Dragonrock. Respect.
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Old 7th August 2003, 03:10 PM   #14
Dragonrock
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Thanks, I really enjoy his show, he's a political commentator/call-in show but his web-site has a link to snopes.
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Old 7th August 2003, 05:10 PM   #15
JSFolk
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Very nice, Dragon!

I had also thought about sending a list of other patents, but only after I sent my second email. I'll save that for email #3. That's assuming, of course, that I get a response from email #2.
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Old 7th August 2003, 05:48 PM   #16
tracer
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Is Penta Water supposed to be anything like Pi Water?
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Old 7th August 2003, 06:20 PM   #17
JSFolk
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Tracer, it would appear that the Pi water people have embraced some of the same clustered water pseudoscience that Penta is selling, with the addition of some homeopathic garbage. (the "water can memorize things" line"
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Old 7th August 2003, 07:58 PM   #18
BTox
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Pi water ... "Vital organic water". Sounds like Pi ss to me
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Old 8th August 2003, 10:39 AM   #19
JSFolk
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Dragon, before naming patent numbers, you might want to check them out at the patent office.

The swinging patent is just asinine.

The peanut butter and jelly patent also includes a crimped edge.. sounds pretty stupid to me.

BUT the "toast with butter" patent is actually ...

"What is claimed is:

1. A method of refreshing bread products, comprising:

a) placing a bread product in an oven having at least one heating element,

b) setting the temperature of the heating elements between 2500 F. and 4500 F., and

c) ceasing exposure of the bread product to the at least one heating element after a period of 3 sec. to 90 sec.

2. The method of claim 1 including the step of exposing the bread product to electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range between 1.2 and 3.4 microns.

3. The method of claim 1 including the step of selecting said bread products from rolls, muffin, buns and bagels. "

I'm not denying that there are a plethora of stupid patents out there, but you should double check your (patent) numbers before repeating them.
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Old 8th August 2003, 10:52 AM   #20
Dragonrock
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I did check them, but I read through them quickly.

I just went through it again, that wasn't even then one I had read. I was cutting and pasting from a list of silly patents and I must have grabbed the wrong number. Great, I hope they get the idea from the other two.
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Old 8th August 2003, 11:51 AM   #21
Skeptical Greg
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Quote:
Originally posted by JSFolk
"What is claimed is:

1. A method of refreshing bread products, comprising:

a) placing a bread product in an oven having at least one heating element,

b) setting the temperature of the heating elements between 2500 F. and 4500 F., and

Yep'. The 2500 to 4500 F ought to do it.. And you can put a fine glaze on your pottery while you are at it... But, I think it's called a kiln, not an oven..
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Old 11th August 2003, 08:55 AM   #22
Soapy Sam
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jsfolk-

Do you suppose that if everyone on this website wrote to the good folks at Penta, they would mail every one of us a crate of water?

I have a tree just outside my front window which looked a little parched a week ago...
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