An Alkaline Water Brand Is Making People Seriously Ill in Nevada, Officials Say

“Real Water” alkaline water products have been linked to at least 11 illnesses in Nevada, with at least five children developing acute non-viral hepatitis after drinking them.
“Real Water” alkaline water products have been linked to at least 11 illnesses in Nevada, with at least five children developing acute non-viral hepatitis after drinking them.
Photo: FDA

A brand of alkaline water is likely sickening people in Nevada, federal and local health officials say. At least 11 people in the state have come down with varying symptoms, including serious liver injury, after drinking “Real Water” products. People are being advised not to drink the stuff, while one family has since filed a lawsuit against the company.

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The cases first emerged in November 2020, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. Five children from four different households developed acute, non-viral hepatitis (essentially, serious liver inflammation that can lead to permanent damage or even organ failure). The children needed to be hospitalized as a result, but all eventually recovered. Another six people—three adults and three children—experienced milder symptoms, such as vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue. The victims all shared one common thing just prior to their symptoms showing up: They had recently imbibed “Real Water.”

“To date, the consumption of ‘Real Water’ brand alkaline water was found to be the only common link identified between all the cases,” the Southern Nevada Health District said Tuesday.

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now working with local health officials to investigate the mass poisoning. The FDA is also looking into the brand, which is owned by Affinity Lifestyles.com, Inc. Though the company has been in existence since 1998 and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada, its headquarters are located in Mesa, Arizona, according to the FDA. At this time, they haven’t yet ruled out that other similar brands could pose a danger to people.

“Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not drink, cook with, sell, or serve ‘Real Water’ alkaline water, until more information is known about the cause of the illnesses,” the FDA stated in a public advisory released Tuesday.

Alkaline water is considered water that’s been treated to have a slightly higher pH than usual (while your tap water is around 7 pH, or neutral, alkaline water might be around 8 to 9 pH). Proponents of alkaline water, along with an alkaline diet in general, say it can do everything from restoring people’s clear skin to “boosting” their immune system. There is some evidence that alkaline water may help relieve some gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn, but that’s about all the evidence says. In general, the idea that foods and drinks can improve the body by making it slightly more alkaline or acidic is similarly suspect (the body’s already very good at balancing its pH!).

That said, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence that alkaline water by itself can be harmful either, except perhaps to your wallet. It’s possible that the young age of most of the victims, some of whom were reportedly infants, could have played a part in the injuries. It’s also known that liver damage can be identified through higher than normal levels of alkaline phosphatase, a protein that helps break down other proteins.

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On Tuesday, the Review-Journal reported that Emely and Christopher Brian Wren have filed a civil complaint against the “Real Water” company. Both they and their two-year child Christopher Noah reportedly became ill after drinking the product, while their daughter, the only member of the family who did not drink it, avoided illness. Both the son and father were hospitalized but recovered.

The company bills their “Real Water” product as being able to “help your body to restore balance and reach your full potential!” and also claims that it has proprietary technology to keep their alkaline water “stable”. Interestingly enough, the company was sued in a class action lawsuit in 2016, with the plaintiffs alleging that the product was just bottled tap water. The lawsuit appears to have not gone anywhere since early 2017.

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Representatives at Real Water have not yet responded to a request for comment from Gizmodo.

Science writer at Gizmodo and pug aficionado elsewhere

DISCUSSION

Brutalitarian
Brutalitarian

Alkaline water, 9pH. Stomach acid 1.5-3.5pH. Drink this pish and you’ll end up neutralizing some stomach acid unless the additives used to rais the pH are something sketchy. What could it be though.... lets look at the “real water” website and see what it says.

Most of the drinking water is stripped of valuable electrons, making the water acidic and creating free radicals.

[BAD SCIENCE CLAXON] Water does not have an electron deficit. to understand this further we need to do a little basic (Basic... base, its the technical term for an alkali, get it?... I’m wasted on you people) chemistry. when dissolved in water an acid donates a proton (a hydrogen atom without its paired electron) to the water molecule to create a H3O+ molecule. It has a positive charge because it has an extra positive charge form the donated proton but no extra electron to even things out. The acidic solution will also contain whatever is left of the molecules you added to the water, these molecules will have a - charge as they will still have the electron the hydrogen atom left behind when it went to hang out with the water molecule.

To make hydrochloric acid you mix hydrogen chloride and water. The hydrogen and the chlorine split apart, the hydrogen goes off without its electron and the chlorine becomes negatively charged. You see how we still have the same amount of electrons as when we started, the water has not been stripped of anything.

Free radicals steal electrons from the body’s cells. This is called Free Radical Damage and it is the cause of many serious health conditions. They operate much like rust on a car, zapping people from their life force.

[BAD SCIENCE CLAXON] A free radical cannot “steal and electron form your bodys cells” A free radical is an atom or molecule with an unfilled outer shell of electrons. An ionic solution lake an acid or an alkali is not full of “free radicals”. Free radicals might indeed be linked to some health issues or indeed aging but thats not what’s at play here. Its also not what causes rust. What happens there is that iron oxide is more stable than just iron and oxygen separate. It has bugger all to do with “life forces” whatever they may be when theyre at home.

E2: Electron Energized Technology adds trillions and trillions of electrons. Thus producing stable negative ionization. Negative ions along with antioxidants act to neutralize free radicals. They are more accepted by the body’s aquaporins. Channels that usher in water and cellular nutrients for increased cellular hydration.

[bzzzzt ERROR. ERROR. BAD SCIENCE OVERLOAD. CLAXON NON OPERATIONAL] The fuck? Water is not a capacitor! Though to be fair, whilst trillions and trillions sounds a lot, its a no where near the number needed to give every molecule of H2O in 1litre of water an extra electron. That number is very big. Very big indeed, its 333 with another 23 zeros. Give or take, there are around 33300000000000000000000000 molecules of h20 in 1 litre of water. Trillions and trillions would be about 0.0000000000% of the number of electrons needed to turn every molecule of water into H2O-.

Even worse, ionising water with an extra electron would reduces the bodies ability to absorb the water as aquaporins selectively conduct water molecules in and out of the cell, while preventing the passage of ions and other solutes.

SOOOOO MUCH BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!