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Drinking Water Scams

Posted: June 2, 2010

These various types of water scams can be very convincing and some just outright absurd. Many scams utilize pseudoscience and manipulate information in order to make their claims seem valid.

Do homeowners commonly experience drinking water scams?

As private well owners, the occasional false claim that a product will enhance water, provide a safer alternative to a private or municipal water source or get rid of an aesthetic nuisance, may have been encountered. These various types of water scams can be very convincing and some just outright absurd. Many scams utilize pseudoscience and manipulate information in order to make their claims seem valid. Scams range from fraudulent treatment devices and water testing to unsupported health benefits. They mislead and misinform consumers to sell products.

What kind of scams are the most common?

Unnecessary purchases of water treatment devices result from unethical vendors selling legitimate devices that are not needed or selling completely fraudulent devices that have no proven benefits in water quality. Treatment devices claiming to use magnetism, ionization, far-infrared light, depressurization, or electronic pulses to treat water have no reliable data to support them. These devices tend to be geared toward treating hard water.

Water testing demonstrations are another avenue that some companies utilize to sell their unneeded treatment devices. There are primarily two different tactics for this: the company will provide its own tests of your water or send a sample to a lab and then help you interpret the results.

Another misconception is the notion that bottled water is safer than private or municipal sources. Although bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and municipal sources regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, both follow nearly the same water quality regulations providing that both sources are equally safe. In the instance that private or municipal sources become contaminated, bottled water does provide a good alternative. 

To avoid possible scams:

  • Become knowledgeable of water contaminants and their treatment.
  • Obtain information from unbiased sources.
  • Take steps to verify product claims.
  • Avoid pressure tactics that employ “purchase now and receive…” or “must act now” promotions.
  • Have water tested at certified labs only!
  • Select bottled water that is bottled in PA since there are strict laws for those companies bottling water in this state.