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The answer is a difficult one because pure water will not conduct electricity and does not decompose or undergo permanent changes with an applied electric field. Pure water is weakly ionized and any portion of it has equal amounts of positive and negative ions in solution, giving it a neutral pH of 7. Any temporary changes that occur in pure water due to application of an electric field or direct current leaves water as it was on immediate removal of the applied electric field or current.

However, water can be made to conduct electricity through the addition of some acid or salt (NaCl). Researchers have found that water can be separated into acidic and alkaline components during a salt water electrolyzing process, by use of special membranes.

This electrolyzing process results in two distinct characteristics: acidic water and alkaline water. Acidic water lacks electrons and is called oxidizing water. It has the capacity to kill bacteria within seconds by depriving the organism of electrons. It is very useful as a disinfectant and can be used on skin, food, plants, and animals. Many hospitals and restaurants have used it as a sterilant. On the other hand, alkaline water is abundant with electrons. It has the capacity to neutralize free radicals within the body and is a very efficient antioxidant.

In reality, water is being separated into one component that contains some sodium hydroxide (NaOH), making it alkaline, and into another component that contains some hypochlorous acid (HOCl), making it acidic. In commercial lingo this process is referred to as electrolyzed oxidizing (EO) of water. There are machines on the market for producing what is called EO water for commercial uses. More compact appliances are now being manufactured for individual households.

Want to know how serious the applications of EO water have become? Look no further than the research recently done regarding its use in hospitals. A recent study was designed to investigate bactericidal actions of electrolyzed oxidizing water on hospital infections. Ten of the most common opportunistic pathogens are used for this study. Cultures are inoculated in 4.5 mL of electrolyzed oxidizing (EO) water or 4.5 mL of sterile deionized water (control), and incubated for 0, 0.5, and 5 min at room temperature. At the exposure time of 30 s the EO water completely inactivates all of the bacterial strains, with the exception of vegetative cells and spores of bacilli which need 5 min to be killed. The results indicate that electrolyzed oxidizing water may be a useful disinfectant for hospital infections, but its clinical application has still to be evaluated.

While water is not easily separated by simple electric currents, current advancements in water electrolyzing has enabled water can indeed be separated with the assistance of special membranes. With such advancements, electrolyzed water can truly be studied for further applications to human health.

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