About the Authors

Kim S. Thomas, Karin Koller, Hywel C. Williams
Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Tara Dean
School of Health Sciences and Social Work, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom

Caroline O'Leary
Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, London, United Kingdom

Tracey H. Sach
Medicine, Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom

Anthony Frost
UK Water Treatment Association, Loughborough, United Kingdom

Corresponding Author

kim.thomas@nottingham.ac.uk

Competing Interests

AF is Technical Director of the UK Water Treatment Association, which represents the interests of manufacturers of water treatment equipment used in private and public water supplies. The range of equipment covered includes water softeners. He is a consultant to the European Water Treatment Association with similar interests, and is International Director (unpaid) for the USA Water Quality Association.

Author Contributions

ICMJE criteria for authorship read and met: KST TD CO THS KK AF HW. Agree with the manuscript's results and conclusions: KST TD CO THS KK AF HW. Designed the experiments/the study: KST TD THS KK HW. Analyzed the data: KST TD CO KK HW. Collected data/did experiments for the study: TD KK. Enrolled patients: TD HW. Wrote the first draft of the paper: KST TD HW. Contributed to the writing of the paper: TD CO THS KK HW. Provided technical information and assistance, at the preparation stage and throughout the trial, on the various issues relating to site suitability, installation, operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting for the softener: AF. Contributed to the editing of the various technical issues in the final draft of the paper: AF. Developed the original idea for the study: HCW. Oversight of study integrity as Chief Investigator: HCW.