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Water Conditioner Had No Effect On Bacteria

Distributor Admits That Powermax Magnetic Water Conditioner Had No Effect On Bacteria And Parasites

The distributor of the Powermax magnetic water conditioner, Julian's Electrical & Energy Conservation Limited, has admitted in the New Plymouth High Court that Powermax does not and cannot eliminate bacteria and parasites from water.

Commerce Commission Chair John Belgrave said that the claims made by Julian's Electrical were not just false, but they also created a potentially serious health risk.

"Julian's Electrical's claims that Powermax eliminates bacteria and parasites in drinking water and dissolves faecal wastes in swimming pools, and inferences that it could eliminate giardia and cryptosporidium are all false," Mr Belgrave said.

"People believing these spurious claims and then drinking or swimming in dirty water 'conditioned' by Powermax are at risk of potentially serious illness. The magnetic unit simply does not, and cannot, get rid of bacteria and parasites, and make water safe and clean."

Mr Belgrave said that Julian's Electrical has agreed to undertake corrective advertising and to display corrective advertising at over 140 distributors throughout the country.

Julian's Electrical made the false claims in newspaper advertising and articles, in telephone marketing and in brochures. Since launching Powermax in 1998, Julian's Electrical has set up more than 140 distributors. Most sales were in Wrightsons and Kiwi Trading Company stores.

Powermax is made in the United States and consists of two magnets that are strapped to water pipes. Julian's Electrical relied on claims made by the manufacturer and carried out no independent tests. Mr Belgrave said that this case highlights that distributors are responsible for the goods they provide and must take reasonable steps to check them. They cannot simply rely on claims made by a manufacturer.

The Commission had independent tests done, including tests on water contaminated with faecal bacteria. All the independent tests gave the same result-Powermax did not eliminate bacteria and parasites.

The Commission alleged, and Julian's Electrical has admitted, that: "The Powermax does not and cannot: (a) Render domestic water supply systems clean and safe to use and drink from or eliminate infection causing bacteria and parasites. (b) Eliminate infection causing bacteria and parasites from commercial water supplies. (c) Dissolve faecal wastes in swimming pools and eliminate infection causing bacteria and parasites. (d) Treat water to eliminate infection causing bacteria and parasites and giardia and cryptosporidium."

Media contact: Fair Trading Manager Rachel Leamy Phone work (04) 498 0908, cellphone 025 208 0841, home (04) 569 5058

Senior Advisor Communications Vincent Cholewa Phone work (04) 498 0920, home (04) 477 0039

Commission media releases can be viewed on its web site www.comcom.govt.nz


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