The Penta Water saga outlined below was archived for many
years on the James Randi Foundation site, but the old communications were
eventually deleted. Thanks to the Wayback Machine archives, however, this
interesting two-year exchange is not lost.
August 24, 2001 |
August 31, 2001
| November 2, 2001 |
August 30, 2002 | December 19, 2003
August 24, 2001
A Classic Case of Challenge,
Acceptance, Stalling, Misrepresentation, and a Final
The Penta Water saga — Part 1.
I'm still away in Australia, a report to follow. This
whole page-change will be devoted to a single subject.
We're frequently asked why we don't have a database out
there with the million-dollar challenge tests listed and
detailed. It's not all that easy. We do a brisk
correspondence with many, many, persons every week
concerning the challenge, but by far the greater
fraction drops out after the first inquiry. Others get
to the point of sending in an application, but either
don't read that application, or forget something, and we
have to write back and forth endlessly to get them to do
For those who do negotiate the rules and get a
notarized statement to us — that's only about 10% of the
initial applicants — we have to begin the arduous task
of getting them to actually state, clearly, just what
they think they can do, under what circumstances, and
with what accuracy. I won't go into the many hours that
we waste just explaining to them that (a) what they
claim is not at all paranormal, (b) what they claim
already has a ready explanation, or (c) what goes on in
their heads is probably a malfunction that calls for
professional evaluation and treatment. Others, we argue
with up to a certain point, then we have to abandon the
confrontation because they have so little understanding
of the real world.
Sometimes, a procedure plays itself out quickly and
in sequence, with all the evidence presented clearly and
speaking for itself. I'd like to give you just a small
sample of that kind of nonsense, unfortunately typical
of what we have to put up with here at the JREF. You may
recall that Dr. Jacques Benveniste, Professor Brian
Josephson, Dr. Gary Schwartz, Dr. Wayne Carr, and so
many others, have agreed to be involved in this
way, then suddenly fell silent. What follows is the
complete correspondence between myself and a Mr. William
D. Holloway, whose web page for "Penta Water"
www.hydrateforlife.com should be visited, first, for a
better understanding of what follows. You will see here
how condescending, arrogant, and patronizing these
people can be. They're convinced of their own
infallibility and invulnerability, and wonder how it is
that they suddenly find themselves in full retreat
before the facts that they must face as a consequence of
the million-dollar challenge.
It began on July 13th, 2001, when the JREF web page
change for that day featured the following item:
Just so that you can see how pseudoscience and
ignorance have taken over the Internet merchandising
business, I suggest that you visit
www.hydrateforlife.com and try to follow the totally
false and misleading pitch that the vendors make for
this product, magically-prepared "Penta" water that will
"hydrate" your body miraculously. A grade-school
education will equip you to recognize the falsity of
this claim, but it's obvious that the purveyors are
cashing in on ignorance and carelessness. Just read this
as an example of pure techno-claptrap:
Normally, the water you drink is in large clusters
of H20 [sic] molecules. That's because its
[sic] been affected by air, heat, and modern
is water that, through physics, has been reduced to
its purest state in nature — smaller clusters of H2O
[sic] molecules. These smaller clusters move
through your body more quickly than other water,
penetrating your cell membranes more easily. This
means PentaTM is
absorbed into your system faster and more
completely. When you drink PentaTM,
you're drinking the essence of water. You get
hydrated faster, more efficiently, and more
completely than with any other water on earth.
Folks, water is water. It's burned hydrogen, no more,
no less. The molecules of H2O
— not "H2O" as these quacks write — do not
"cluster," under any influence of the dreadful
"air, heat, and modern civilization" that you're
cautioned to fear. True, water exhibits surface tension,
and the molecules do "line up" to an extent, though
almost any foreign substance in there disturbs this
effect — soap/detergent "wets" it readily. But water
molecules in "clusters"? No way! The illustrations you
see here are totally wrong and fictitious. There's no
such thing as "essence of water," by any stretch of
scientific reasoning, or imagination. This is total,
unmitigated nonsense, a pack of lies designed to swindle
and cheat, to steal money, and to rob the consumer. And
"through physics" has nothing to do with it.
[A side-note: shortly after I published this, a
gentleman wrote me saying that water does
"cluster," and that he uses it regularly in his
business. He told me, "I don't call them 'clusters,'
however. I call them, 'ice-cubes.'" He's a
I await objections to the above statements. There
will be none, because the sellers of "Penta" know
they're lying, they do it purposefully, and they know
they can get away with it because of the incredible
inertia of the Federal agencies that should be
protecting us against such deception and thievery. Those
agencies just can't do the job, and they bumble about
endlessly while the public continues to pay through the
nose. But notice: the Penta people, on their web page,
beneath a family picture of the founders, clearly assert
At first, [the Penta engineers] tested Penta on
plants. They discovered that test seeds would germinate
in half the time as the control seeds.
Bingo! Hallelujah! We have the means for a test! A
simple, inexpensive, clearly demonstrative, test! Such a
demonstration would clearly establish the claim these
folks are making. Ah, but will PentaTM
apply for the million-dollar prize? Dear reader, with
your experience of Tice, DKL, Quadro, Josephson, Edward,
and all the parade of others who have declined to be
tested, I think that you expect, as I do, that PentaTM
will apply as promptly as Sylvia Browne did....
The PentaTM page
advises us to "Penta-hydrate — be fluid." Translation:
"Believe this — be stupid."
On July 13th, just hours after the page went up on
the Internet, the following was received from
Mr. Randi: On your web site, you claim to be "the
world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of
paranormal and pseudoscientific claims." What
investigation did you do into our Penta water? Did you
try any yourself? Did you do any scientific research
comparing our water with any other water? Did you talk
to people who have used our water? Did you contact us
first before publishing your "story"? Proper scientific
research requires that you gather the evidence,
completely document the scientific testing performed,
and then report your findings in a fair and unbiased
manner. Did you do any of this? Penta water is real and
has changed the lives of thousands. People call, write,
or come into our office on a daily basis to thank us for
our product. We are a small, family-run business whose
mission is to enhance the quality of life for our
You state in your article, "But water molecules in
clusters? No way!" Did you do any investigation
regarding this statement. Water molecules do cluster.
Please go to these two web sites to learn more about
We would like to send you a case of Penta water for you
to try. In addition, you are invited to visit our
facility to see first hand how Penta is made and to
examine the test results from several independent
laboratories which prove that Penta is different than
any other water. Please feel free to bring a physicist
Regarding the million-dollar prize, we would indeed
like to apply. If we prove to you that Penta is capable
of hydrating your body faster than any other water, will
you actually pay us?
Best regards, Bill Holloway
I sent this the same day, within 30 minutes of
receiving Holloway's message, at 8:33 p.m.:
Mr. Holloway: I quote from your e-mail message, just
"Regarding the million-dollar prize, we would indeed
like to apply."
Excellent news! Please visit our web site (www.randi.org),
download the form, and proceed from there. I suggest
that you also examine the rules pertaining to the
million-dollar challenge, and please ask any questions
you may have about the procedure. You asked:
"If we prove to you that Penta is capable of
hydrating your body faster than any other water, will
you actually pay us?"
Yes, of course we will pay you, but no, we would not
use my body in a test. It stands to reason that I would
probably be biased against the claim, and against your
winning the prize. That would not be fair, and might
lead, rightly, to suspicions of improper experimental
However, if you will supply sufficient Penta water
for the tests, we can design a double-blind procedure
for testing the Penta claim.
Supervised independently and conducted entirely by a
prominent university lab, a test would be performed in
which volunteers would receive either Penta water, or
ordinary water, and following their use of the water in
accordance with your specific directions, the volunteers
would be asked to evaluate what they received, without
ANYONE knowing — until after the test — whether they
received Penta water, or the control samples. Your
people would be the ones to interrogate all the
volunteers to record their evaluations.
This would be at no cost to you except that you would
contribute the Penta water, so that there could be no
doubt that the genuine product was being used by the
laboratory. All persons involved would be persons 100%
approved by you, and by the JREF.
You understand that the volunteers would not be aware
of whether they received Penta water, or ordinary water,
and the containers would all be identical except for
coded markings which would, following the test
procedures, be de-coded. Each individual volunteer would
receive only Penta water, or ordinary water,
all through the test period, and would be required to
use it in accordance with your specific directions. You
would be free to visit, question, and advise the
volunteers at any time during the test period.
As always, as described in the rules, a preliminary
test for the JREF prize would be performed. That test
would have odds of only 1 in 1,000 against the results
being positive by chance alone. Should your product pass
this preliminary test, we would be prepared, as outlined
in our published rules, to go to the second and final
test for the million-dollar prize.
We await your response to this suggested protocol,
with great interest.
(If you will supply a mailing address at which you
would prefer to receive mail, a formal copy of this
letter, signed and notarized, will follow this e-mail
posting. Thank you.)
Signed, James Randi. President, JREF.
Later, after consultation with JREF staff, I sent
this message to Mr. Holloway the following day:
Mr. Holloway, it has been suggested by my staff that
the "germination of seeds" effect mentioned by you would
be a much more rapid, economical, and practical test of
Penta. I will ask that you consider this possibility, as
well. It would follow the lines of the
previously-described tests, except that no human
subjects would be required, and your team would of
course be the sole decision-makers on whether or not the
seeds had been treated with Penta or with ordinary
tap-water. I think you can see how the protocol could be
adapted easily. In addition, this test would take so
little time — perhaps only a few days — and there would
be no concern about possible irregularities in applying
the proper use of the water, a concern that certainly
would be present if human subjects were to be depended
upon to follow your directions in imbibing the water. A
complete video record could easily be kept of the entire
procedure used to produce germination of the seeds,
adding to the data obtained and providing for both
sides, further assurance of the integrity of the tests.
Please let me have your thoughts on this....
Later that same day, Mr. Holloway replied:
Dear Mr.Randi: Thank you for your prompt response. We
are evaluating your offer and will be in contact this
coming week. We would be interested in the live human
experiment not the seed experiment, as our process has
been modified for human consumption. We would recommend
the use of a Bio Impedance Analyzer, which is currently
utilized by hospitals to evaluate cellular hydration.
The Bio Impedance Analyzer is approved by the F.D.A. and
would we feel meet with your approval. If you would like
to learn more about Bio Impedance Analyzers go to
rjlsystems.com we recommend this unit since it is F.D.A.
approved and in use by major hospitals nationwide. In
the mean time while we are developing our protocol and
deciding if we will accept your challenge, we would like
to send you some Penta water for you to try. This will
give you a chance to see for yourself the effects of
Penta water as it will only take a day for someone your
age to feel the effects. This will afford you the
opportunity to print a retraction and apologize for you
[sic] comments. We are not out to take anyone's
money or embarrass even the Great Randi, Penta water was
developed to help people not harm them. I hope you will
accept this offer as it is made in good faith.
Best regards, Bill Holloway
I immediately answered:
Mr. Holloway, examining the contents of your message:
>We would be interested in the live human experiment
not the seed experiment, as our process has been
modified for human consumption.<
That is your choice, of course.
>We would recommend the use of a Bio Impedance
Analyzer, which is currently utilized by hospitals to
evaluate cellular hydration.<
Very well. The experiment would then take the
following form, subject to your approval and subject to
any metabolic or other specific factors that might
interfere, and of which I am unaware:
1. I propose that we select a group of 50 persons
(subjects) for whom you believe the use of Penta water
would be beneficial, in that it would increase their
degree of cellular hydration.
2. An independent party (A) would obtain an adequate
supply of Penta water and would decant this into 50
marked, coded, sterile containers, each container being
adequate for a day's supply, and the codes being
retained by yet another independent party, (B). Person A
would then similarly prepare an equal number of
identical marked, coded, sterile containers into which
ordinary water would be placed. In the same way, B would
retain the secret coding of those containers and would
then retire from the proceedings. These 100 containers
would then be mixed randomly, so that no observer would
be able to tell — without breaking the code — whether he
or she is holding a container of Penta water, or of
ordinary water. All coding marks are to be fastened
permanently on the containers, and masked securely by a
simple means until the coding is broken by B in step The
stock of containers would then be retained in security
by an independent party, (C).
3. The 50 subjects would have their degree of
cellular hydration measured and recorded by means of the
BIA, and if you wished, you would question them as well.
Each would then be given a container of water by C, in a
coded container, each person to receive a container
selected at random by C from the mixed supply. The
remaining 50 containers would not be used, but would be
kept securely isolated by C. Each subject would then be
required to use the water in the manner approved and
dictated by you. You understand that no person (subject,
handler, or experimenter) would have any way of
differentiating between the containers except by
referring to and breaking the coding, or possibly by
noticing the claimed beneficial effects of the Penta, if
that was what they were given.
4. After a sufficient period has passed that in your
opinion the effects of the Penta water, if any, should
be evident, you will be asked to examine each of the
subjects, question them if you wish, and use the BIA to
determine the degree of cellular hydration of each of
the 20 subjects. You would record the code-number of the
water container each subject used, and place that data
in the record.
5. You would then prepare a report based upon your
own evaluation, and the input provided by the subjects
themselves, making your final decision on whether or not
each subject received Penta water or ordinary water. You
would be free to disqualify any subject(s) for ANY
reason you see fit.
6. When your report is complete, the person retaining
the secret coding would be brought in, the coding would
be revealed and broken, and a determination would be
made of the contents of each of the containers used.
Your evaluations would then be compared with the
identification of the water used. We would expect that,
for a "win" to be attained by you, your evaluation would
agree with 37 or more out of the 50 subjects' actual
usage -- making allowance for any subjects you might
have chosen to disqualify. This would constitute the
preliminary phase of your attempt for the JREF prize.
>The Bio Impedance Analyzer is approved by the F.D.A.
and would we feel meet with your approval.<
Since the evaluation would be entirely in your hands,
you would of course be free to use any and all means to
determine whether or not any subject's degree of
cellular hydration has been altered, so we are not
concerned with these details. Please do not send me any
product. I cannot be personally involved in this
process, which should be in your hands and under your
control as much as possible. Thank you.
Persons A, B, and C, must not be known to one
another. We have procedures for maintaining security of
the coding, in such a way that the coding cannot be
altered, and cannot be "broken" even by the person
retaining the information. Person A must perform his/her
function, and then cease involvement in the procedure,
to be called back in only if there is any doubt or
problem with the process he/she carried out. Person B
would not be made aware of what he/she in involved with,
nor would that person communicate with anyone else
concerning what has been done. Person C's only function
would be to mix the 100 bottles randomly with the coding
number out of sight, as described, and to distribute to
each subject, at random, a container, then retain the 50
remaining containers securely and untampered
Addendum: if you wish to shorten and simply this
procedure, we would consider using only 20 subjects, but
the expectation of your success would then be 18 or more
correct. Of course, you are free to perform this test as
many times as you wish, at convenient intervals for all
concerned. Some parameters may change, in that case. I
await your comments....
I should mention that TIME Magazine has been waiting
for just such an opportunity to do a feature story on
the JREF million-dollar challenge, needing an actual
test upon which to base the story. They are awaiting
your decision on this, though there is no rush, and time
is not an element that should enter into this.
End of Part 1. Now, I believe that this is a fair and
proper experimental protocol. You might expect that we
would receive a proper response and acceptance. Stay
tuned. Part 2 will follow next week....
August 31, 2001
Part 2 of the Penta Water saga.... Last week, we gave
you Part 1 of the e-mail exchanges between William
Holloway and myself regarding his acceptance of the JREF
million-dollar challenge, and my proposed, detailed,
protocol for the preliminary test procedure offered to
him. The product involved is "Penta" water, which is
said to hydrate the users tissues more effectively than
regular H2O, at a price
of $8 a liter.
Continuing last weeks page....
Having no response, I sent this on July 20th, six
We've been waiting for your response to our July 14th
summary of a suggested preliminary test procedure for
As I'm sure you understand, what was outlined in that
communication covered only the preliminary test
procedure, which would have to be passed before we would
proceed to the formal test. That would be essentially
the same except that the security would be more
stringent, since one million dollars would then be
involved. Also, slightly higher performance levels would
be required. Persons applying to be tested, seem
inordinately concerned with all the details of a
possible formal second-phase test, even though no person
has ever yet passed the preliminary test.
Perhaps, in your opinion, the conditions I described
in my July 14th letter of the preliminary test, are too
stringent for Penta to pass? If so, please inform me. I
had gathered, from your previous statements, that Penta
could perform at least at that level. If I'm wrong,
please let me know so that we can make it easier for
I will take this opportunity of once again stating my
approach to this process: I will accept no samples of
your product, because nothing would be served thereby,
and it could be claimed that in any case I am prejudiced
against the product and the claims. I will do no testing
of the product myself, simply because that same claim of
prejudice could be invoked, and it would seem possible
that I would not be an impartial judge of the product.
Our tests are always done by independent,
capable, qualified, third parties.
For similar reasons, we do not accept results offered
by independent labs. We would be foolish to do so, I'm
sure you will agree, since our reputation and our
million-dollar prize is at stake. We presently have very
competent, reputable, and willing colleagues at both the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and at
Harvard University, standing by to conduct the first set
of tests. If those credentials are insufficient for you,
please advise us. All of this must meet your standards,
We await your response with great interest.
Signed, James Randi.
We waited patiently for another ten days, not wishing
to rush Mr. Holloway or to annoy him. I had rather hoped
that he might decide to actually do some double-blind
testing in accordance with the protocol I'd outlined, in
which case he would have discovered that there was no
evidence to be had when the test was double-blind. And,
for all we know, he just might have, for I began to
receive messages from other persons who had approached
him by e-mail inquiring about his agreement to take up
the million-dollar challenge, and Mr. Holloway's
responses to them were not only untrue, but rather
On July 30th I received a copy of a particularly
abusive response he'd made to an inquirer. I knew by
that time, from others, that Holloway had hinted that he
was considering suing me. I sent him this:
Mr. Holloway: I repeat here portions of a message
that you sent to a Mr. Chris Walsh, and my own added
observations. Though I see that you affirmed to Mr.
Walsh that you will be replying to me, I've not yet
received that response. If this is due to your intent to
bring a suit against me, as you have indicated, please
Mr. Holloway had written to Mr. Walsh, and I had
replied, as follows:
We most certiantly [sic]
will be responding to Randi. I would like to know
have you ever tried Penta water?
I note that your entire thrust seems to be, not
scientific testing of your claims, but providing
anecdotal accounts. I am only interested in
proper double-blind tests, as I pointed out to you in
our previous correspondence.
Are you a water expert?
I do not see any indication that Mr. Walsh has
claimed to be a "water expert," and I would have to
wonder what your definition of that term might be.
Would you like to try or test
Penta water for free?
I believe that Mr. Walsh is, as I am, only interested
in proper scientific testing of the claims you have made
for your product, and though we have carefully and fully
outlined to you the bona fides of those
scientists who would perform the tests that you
yourself said would establish the claims, I do not
see your acceptance. Why is that?
I do not mind you being
critical of our product, however I do think we
deserve the right to prove our product is structured
water, and we can prove it.
Excellent! Let us have the tests that you
yourself suggested, using the equipment you
approved, be carried out as soon as possible, so
that your claim for the million-dollar prize may be
Lets [sic] wait and
see if Randi will accept our challenge. I would bet
he will not.
This, I admit, has me puzzled, Mr. Holloway. I long
ago (July 14th) submitted my acceptance, and you told me
you'd be back to me within a week. You did not get back
to me. And what is this "our challenge" referred to? I
don't recall any challenge being made by you, and I am
only concerned with one item at a time, in this case,
our standing challenge to you.
If you would like to try Penta
and have it tested please send me your address and I
will send you a sample. Feel free to take it to any
University and have them do a mass spec. direct
liquid inject [?] or Infrared spectroscope
I fear that you are out of your depth, Mr. Holloway.
The terminology you apply here is gibberish. But, I
repeat: we will accept any means you specify to
differentiate between Penta water and ordinary water.
I'm tiring of repeating this, and I'm hoping to receive
your reply so that we can get this pending matter out of
the way and move on with our business. There are people
out there willing to be tested, who do not shilly-shally
. . . at which time we will
accept your apology.
I suggest to you, Mr. Holloway, that your pompous
attitude here will backfire on you. I cannot speak for
Mr. Walsh, but I'm not going to apologize for having
doubts, for being skeptical, for challenging. That's the
American way, and I'm all for it.
Mr. Holloway, put up or shut up. Ball's in your
As you see, Mr. Holloway is anticipating apologies,
again, and there are none coming, I assure you. I
received his response July 30th, late:
Dear Mr. Randi:
We have nothing to prove to you. I am extremely busy
and do not need your distraction. While it would give me
great pleasure to take your money, it would only take
money from your supporters, as I am sure its not your
money. You live on other peoples money while claming
[sic] to fight injustice. Injustice is to make
libelous charges without any investigation on your part.
Our product is real do your own testing before you shoot
off your big mouth. Why don't you get a real job and
contribute to society instead of leaching [sic]
off of others. Please do not bother me anymore. Any
future communications should be directed to our law
firm, Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch Mr. Michael
In character, as always, I responded within the hour,
with observations on Mr. Holloway's false presumptions,
adding, "A copy of this is going to Mr. Kinkelaar." I
sent an e-mail letter to Mr. Michael Kinkelaar,
inquiring for his postal mailing address so that I might
send him a proper, formal response. To date, there
has been no answer of any kind, not from Mr.
Holloway nor from his lawyer.
Is it now somewhat clearer what we have to go through
at the JREF? To have discussed almost any other case on
these pages, I would have had to run on for six or eight
times as long as this. I chose this case because it's
relatively succinct, in comparison with most others.
I'll add here that I erred in saying that water does not
"cluster," as Mr. Holloway claims. It does, if it's
ordinary H2O, and he
tells us that Penta Water does not. Mind you, the
dreaded "clusters" of as many as six molecules occur
frequently, but since they only last for three
picoseconds (that's .000000000003 of one second) I don't
really think that we have to be concerned.....
November 2, 2001
The "Penta Water" matter has returned. A very unhappy
customer informed me of an exchange that was taking
place between her and a Mr. David T. Cheatham, "Chief
Operating Officer" of the company. I immediately wrote
this man and reminded him of his agreement to submit his
product to testing for the JREF million-dollar prize. He
Bio-hydration is a small company. We have limited
resources at this point and we are focused on
providing a quality product to our customers. To
participate in your study would use resources that
we do not have available at this time. But, when we
are ready, we will contact you. Mr. Randi, we
operate our business with integrity. We want to help
people. Our business has grown 500% in the past year
through mostly word of mouth. If people didn't feel
the difference Penta makes, they wouldn't buy it. We
look forward to working with you in the future.
Not one to shirk answering, I did:
To participate in your study would use resources
that we do not have available at this time.<
Let's get real here. The reward for you is one
million dollars, no strings attached. NONE of your
"resources" would be called upon. You give nothing,
you pay nothing. All you have to do is appoint an
individual — or individuals — of your own choosing,
to act as your witness(es) to a simple, direct,
procedure. You have already designated how the
product should be tested, in an unequivocal manner,
and have agreed to be tested by that means. We have
clearly declared our availability, but you have
withdrawn from the discussion. I cannot believe that
you do not want one million dollars, a reward for
showing that your product performs as advertised.
That is an incredible scenario that no reasonable
person can accept.
Immediately came Mr. Cheatham's answer:
You say that none of our resources would be
required. Then in the next sentence you say that we
need to appoint someone to witness the procedure. To
appoint someone to witness the procedure is a use
[of] our resources. These things always take longer
than anyone expects. Yes, 1 million dollars would be
great. However, our business is at a critical stage
where the distraction of your offer is not
acceptable. "Patience is a virtue."
Surely, appointing or approving someone (a lawyer,
trusted friend, a scientist, an academic) to act as a
witness for tests, is not too great a burden for Penta,
considering the prize? And we've already decided that a
test such as the Penta folks themselves outlined, would
be brief, a day at most, so the complaint that "These
things always take longer than anyone expects" is not
valid. I assure Mr. Cheatham that I'm quite as busy as
he is, and would undertake to supervise a test
efficiently and competently.
In any case, this gentleman has provided us with a
vapid motto that smacks — to me — of further obfuscation
and delay tactics. Yes, perhaps patience is a virtue,
but one can run out of both. Be assured that I will be
in this, all the way. Start the Penta Clock....?
August 30, 2002
Those Penta Water folks are apparently doing very well
selling their quackery, and their CEO, William D.
Holloway, continues to ignore the JREF offer to test his
claims for the million-dollar prize, though he agreed to
the arrangements and terms back in July of 2001. I refer
you to the August 24 2001 archive of this site, for details.
My local health food store, Whole Foods Market of
Fort Lauderdale, even published their own paean to Penta.
One side of their flyer repeats much of the folklore and
strictly "urban legend" notions about water — regular
water — as consumed by humans, and the other side
repeats the usual Penta crap, including these howlers:
"When you drink Penta, you're drinking the essence of
water," "Only Penta can also serve as a powerful
antioxidant as recommended by doctors to help combat the
adverse effects of stress," and "Penta will enhance your
performance in sports, work and life." You have to hand
it to Holloway for unbridled imagination; none of these
claims is true, but they sound good.
(A current "summer special" on Penta water brings it to
you at a price that would make a can of regular soda
cost $1.18 — regular price about 33 cents! So Penta
costs you more than three and a half times as
much as a soft drink, even at bargain discounts!)
We publish here an exchange between reader David
Salehinia, founder and director of InterTrade Systems
Corporation, and David T. Cheatham, Chief Operations
Officer for Penta. Cheatham's only qualification for
judging the efficacy of Penta water rests somewhere in
his BA in Business Administration and his MBA in
Management. David begins:
Mr. Cheatham: Thank you for your reply, the attached
documents, and Mr. Holloway's contact information. I
will cc him on this email, however, based on your
response I don't see a reason to take up his
valuable time at this point.
I feel compelled to respond to your email. I have
read the St. Thomas study you have kindly sent.
There are two areas I would like to note: one, this
study was paid for by your organization, and I found
it to be more of a "marketing document" than an
unbiased research document. Secondly, I find the
statistical differences in favor of Penta to be
insignificant. I look forward to seeing a
"significant amount of physical property analyses
which show a radical difference between Penta water
and normal water," as well as the "stop flow" study.
Regarding your reasoning for rejection of Mr.
Randi's challenge, the logic has some fundamental
discrepancies which include:
1. Given Penta's confidence in their product and
its nearly miraculous effects — " Rest assured, we
will be back to collect the$1,000,000" — then why
not bring the needed resources to take on this
challenge and pocket the majority of this money
after insignificant expenses to prove the claims you
are already making based on existing studies? The
level of needed resources must be extremely low,
since you claim to have done all these studies.
2. This challenge is not asking you to prove
anything new. It is rather asking you to prove the
claims you are already making. Such claims are and
have been responsible for the "tremendous growth"
you have referred to. Therefore, I don't see any
distraction on your part especially since the method
of proof, as I have read it in the exchanged email
between Mr. Randi and Mr. Holloway, has given full
control of the testing methodology to Penta. You
claim that Penta continuously conduct these types of
test. What is the problem then?
3. What better opportunity for a small, confident
company to gain national/international recognition
about its products and integrity, without a
multi-million dollar advertising budget, than to win
such a challenge — and pocket one million dollars?
This can catapult Penta's growth into orbit. This
can, more than sufficiently, take care of the big
marketing budget you don't have. "We don't have a
big marketing budget to convince people to try our
product." Again, I fail to see the logic behind your
organization's action in this case.
I completely agree with you how word of mouth has
the potential to help a company grow. The opposite
is also true.
Unfortunately I am even more disappointed than
before about Penta's claim of honesty and integrity
and its unwillingness to step up to the plate — for
We are increasingly witnessing the public
backlash against dishonest claims made by big and
small businesses alike. This backlash gains greater
intensity when it impacts people's health and well
being. Most people consider themselves intelligent
and don't care to be insulted, especially when some
of the people and public figures they look up to,
such as the ones in the Penta Family, make claims
which cannot be sufficiently supported. We all have
witnessed the very rapid demise of other such
organizations. Fortunately, we live in a society
where information dissemination through various
channels, ranging from news programs such as 60
Minutes and Date Line, and printed media as well as
the Net, has the power to rapidly create powerfully
positive or negative word-of- mouth.
As you can see, I am disappointed in myself for
believing the claims I heard, and for spending money
on such a product with the intention of more
positively impacting my health. Integrity is a
concept and word we start with, but the true measure
is when we are called to the test.
Stay tuned for developments. Until then, I suggest
that you don't invest in Penta....!
December 19, 2003
Reader John Williams of Lovelady, Texas, wrote the Penta
Water people and asked why they'd not gone through with
their agreement to be tested by us for the JREF prize,
as they'd previously agreed. They answered:
Hello John, We have not accepted James Randi's
challenge. Being a new company we do not have the
funds to do the research that James Randi's say's
[sic] you have to have to get the million
dollars. Slowly but surely we will get the money to
do the research. To have studies done, would cost
over two million dollars. So as we have more studies
done to validate the water's properties, I think
that we will take the James Randy's [sic]
Where do I start? This is a silly canard created by
Penta — via Mr. Holloway — to try wriggling out of the
test they'd agreed to years ago. The costs of such a
test would be minimal, since all the JREF requires is
for Penta to differentiate — by any means they choose —
between ordinary tap water and their product. That's a
yes-or-no guess done with about 50 bottles. Simple.
Cheap. Practical. Conclusive. None of these adjectives
are acceptable to the Penta people.
Two million dollars? You can stage a Broadway show
for that, and all we want is a simple yes-or-no test. No
costumes, music, or choreography needed, Mr. Holloway.
Will we hear from you, now that this
"misunderstanding" has been resolved?