Negative Ion Facts
Approved by the
U.S. FDA (Food & Drug Admin.) as an approved allergy treatment.
Negative ions improve asthma and other respiratory conditions.
There is nothing subjective about a bawling baby"
In 1966, a hospital in Jerusalem conducted a study involving 38 babies, between the ages of two and twelve months, with about the same degree of respiratory problems. The babies were separated into two groups of nineteen. One group was treated with nothing but a negative ion electronic air cleaner, while the second group was administered the standard treatment, which included drugs and antibiotics with side effects. The babies in the group treated with the negative ion air purifier were cured of asthma and bronchitis much more quickly than those in the control group. The babies in the negative ion group were also found to be less prone to rebound attacks. Less scientifically, doctors found that the babies treated by negative ion-enriched air didn’t cry as often or as loudly. But as Fred Soyka, the author of The Ion Effect puts it, "there is nothing subjective about a bawling baby" (Soyka, 1991).
It’s all in the numbers
When a negative is better than a positive
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
Agriculture Research Service (of USDA)
See Link: http://www.nalusda.gov/ttic/tektran/data/000008/54/0000085456.html
Journal of Hygiene
Journal of Applied Microbiology
Negative ions are needed in order to take in oxygen.
"Please, we’re dying here!"
Tchijewsky’s colleague, Dr. D. A. Lapitsky, tried raising small animals in air completely devoid of oxygen. He added only negative ions to the air as they were about to die from asphyxiation. At which point, their respiration frequency drastically increased, as they began to sit up and run around the chamber (Tchijewski, 1960).
Don’t travel to space without `em
The more the better
Negative ions counteract the effects of smoking.
High levels of negative ions neutralize the effect that tobacco smoke has on the cilia. Cilia are the microscopic hairs located in the trachea that move rapidly back and forth to prevent pollutants and toxins from traveling into the vulnerable areas of the respiratory tract. The faster the cilia move, the more effective they are. However, tobacco smoke slows down the ciliary beat, diminishing the body’s ability to keep cancer-causing pollutants from entering the depths of the respiratory tract. Tests have shown though, that adding high levels of negative ions to the air accelerates the ciliary beat to normal levels (Soyka, 1991).
Negative ions help prevent respiratory-related illnesses.
"I hope I’m in group one."
In a test involving a Swiss bank office, one group of 309 worked in a negative ion-treated environment. A second group of 362 worked in an untreated environment. Over the next several months, for every day lost to respiratory illness (cold, flu, laryngitis, etc.) in group one, 16 days were lost to respiratory illness in group two (Soyka, 1991).
"We liked them so much . . ."
Negative ions help prevent migraine headaches.
Migraine headaches originate when an overload of serotonin causes the diameter of blood vessels leading to the brain to dilate, and get wider in the brain. Consequently, blood flow increases, and pain receptors in the vessels are stretched, which leads to the excrutiating pain associated with a migraine headache (Borne, 1998; others). In numerous tests and studies though, negative ion treatment has proven to prevent the overproduction of serotonin, and therefore the subsequent migraine headaches (Kreuger, 1957; Soyka, 1991; Sulman, 1974).
Negative ions are a natural anti-depressant.
. . . and without the side effects!
Negative ions for a positive attitude
Negative Ions Help Combat Fatigue.
In 1957, a study published in the Journal of General Physiology concluded that negative ions reduce the overproduction of serotonin, a neurohormone that leads to exhaustion, among other things, when overproduced (Kreuger, 1957).
Negative Ions Enhance Mental Performance and Concentration.
The Alpha wave rythms say it all
The more difficult the better
Negative ions enhance physical performance.
The Ion Olympics
Negative Ions help us to sleep better.
In 1969, French researcher found that the overproduction of the neurohormone serotonin caused sleeplessness and nightmares. In using a negative ion electronic air cleaner to treat a group of people experiencing sleeping problems as a result of serotonin overproduction, he found that most of them were able to sleep better (Soyka, 1991).
Negative ions aid in the treatment of burn patients.
In 1959, Dr. Kornbleuh treated a group of 138 burn victims at Northeastern General Hospital with negatived ionized air. Within this group, 57.3% suffered significantly less pain and discomfort, while healing more quickly and thoroughly. Only 22.5% of the control group (the group of burn victims treated through conventional methods rather than negative ionization) experienced similar improvements in the same time frame. Statistically, the odds are 1,000 to 1 that these results were coincidental. This study, along with other follow up tests, were evidence enough for the hospital, which subsequently equipped its postoperative wards with negative ion generators. The effectiveness of negative ion treatment in these tests are likely a result of the extraordinary ability of negative ions to remove pollutants from the air, resulting in reduced infection and irritation of burn wounds (Kornbleuh, 1959).
This article from Consumer Reports seems to refute some of the claims stated
in your "New Negative Ion Generator" article concerning health benefits.
New concerns about ionizing air cleaners
Buying an air cleaner that doesn't clean the air is bad enough. Some of the least effective ionizer models also can expose you to potentially harmful ozone levels, especially if you're among the roughly 80 percent of buyers with asthma or allergy concerns.
Months of testing and investigation yielded these findings:
Unlike ozone in the upper atmosphere, which helps shield us from harmful ultraviolet rays, ozone near ground level is an irritant that can aggravate asthma and decrease lung function. Air cleaners need not meet ozone limits--not for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates only outdoor air, nor for the Food and Drug Administration, since it doesn't consider them medical devices, despite the health benefits that some ads imply. (See Air cleaners: The truth behind the accolades.) Manufacturers often submit air cleaners to a voluntary standard that includes a test to see whether they produce more than 50 parts per billion (ppb) of ozone, the same limit the FDA uses for medical devices.
We replicated that test using the sealed polyethylene room specified by Underwriters Laboratories Standard 867 to help ensure consistent results. Ozone levels were measured 2 inches from each machine's air discharge in accordance with the standard. All five ionizers failed the test by producing more than the 50-ppb limit--in some cases, much more.
People don't live in sealed plastic rooms, however. So we also tested these ionizing air cleaners in an open, well-ventilated lab. For comparison, we also tested a top-performing Friedrich electrostatic-precipitator and a Whirlpool HEPA model from previous reports.
We measured ozone levels 2 inches from the machines, as in the sealed-room test, and 3 feet away, since ozone becomes diluted and dissipates rapidly indoors as it reacts with carpet, upholstery, and other surfaces. In our lab tests, two ionizing models--the IonizAir P4620 and the Surround Air XJ-2000--emitted more than 150 and 300 ppb, respectively, 2 inches from the machine.
While few people are likely to sit 2 inches from the air discharge, where our ozone readings were highest, you could be exposed to higher levels than those we measured at 3 feet if you take a cue from manufacturers. The IonizAir's box shows it on a desk near a keyboard and on a nightstand near a sleeping woman. The Ionic Pro CL-369 is shown next to a sofa, while the Surround Air's manual suggests placing it â€œnearby those suffering from breathing or other health problems.â€
Ozone from ionizing air cleaners is a greater concern as sales increase. Ionizers now account for about 25 percent of the roughly $410 million per year spent on air cleaners as brands such as Brookstone and Oreck compete. (We plan to test the Oreck in a future report.)
Experts agree that an ozone concentration more than 80 ppb for eight hours or longer can cause coughing, wheezing, and chest pain while worsening asthma and deadening your sense of smell. It also raises sensitivity to pollen, mold, and other respiratory allergy triggers, and may cause permanent lung damage.
Most indoor ozone is carried inside with outdoor air. Regulators have given indoor ozone less attention than outdoor ozone, since dilution and dissipation typically lower indoor levels by 20 to 80 percent. But Charles J. Weschler, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey, notes, â€œSince we spend so much time indoors, exposure is often greater than outdoors.â€œ
 An advertisement featuring a woman sleeping next to an air clea
â€œWe were able to tease out the relationship between ozone and mortality, even accounting for each day's weather and particulate pollution,â€ Bell said in an interview. â€œA small increase in ozone was associated with a small increase in mortality and a larger increase with a larger increase in mortality, even in cities with low ozone levels.â€ The study predicts that a 10-ppb increase in ozone over eight hours could lead to roughly 3,700 premature deaths per year in those cities.
Another ozone study conducted in 2001 over six months in southern New England by the Yale University Center for Perinatal, Pediatric, and Environmental Epidemiology links ozone levels well below the EPA's 80-ppb standard to a higher risk of respiratory symptoms and use of rescue medication for children with severe asthma. Indeed, the study found ill effects even on days when ozone levels were 20 ppb lower than the EPA standard over eight hours.
While ozone dissipates indoors, it can create other pollutants in the process. Research suggests that ozone reacts with the terpenes in lemon- and pine-scented cleaning products and air fresheners, creating formaldehyde--a carcinogen--and other irritants. Those byproducts can be absorbed by beds and carpets, and be released over an extended time frame. Research has also found that ozone reacts with terpenes to create additional ultrafine particles, which are hard to filter and can go deep into lungs.
Ionizers such as the five we focused on are adding ozone indoors just as regulators work to cut ground-level ozone created outdoors as pollutants react with sunlight. The federal EPA's acceptable outdoor level is 80 ppb over eight hours. This year the California EPA recommended lowering the state's outdoor limit to 70 ppb. World Health Organization standards are tougher at 60 ppb over eight hours.
Several states, the EPA, and Canada have issued warnings about ozone generators, a small segment of the air-cleaner market. While ionizers emit ozone as a byproduct, ozone generators create it by design and purport to offer health benefits. Consumer Reports found two such models Not Acceptable as early as 1992.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is reviewing scientific and government data on all air cleaners that create ozone. The CPSC is also evaluating whether the 50-ppb industry standard is adequate protection for consumers, and it may recommend a lower limit. A report is expected later this year.
No federal agency sets indoor ozone limits for homes, however. The EPA has authority over ozone outdoors, not indoors, though it publishes booklets on indoor air quality and runs the Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse. Interestingly, the EPA doesn't take a strong position for or against buying any air cleaner.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates medical devices but says air cleaners aren't covered because manufacturers make only vague, health-related claims, rather than claims related to specific diseases. Nonetheless, the 50-ppb ozone limit for medical devices is also the threshold used in the industry test.
Some manufacturers tacitly acknowledge that their ionizers create ozone and may pose risks. Brookstone's owner's manual suggests that â€œany person suffering from heart, lung, or respiratory illness should consult his or her physician before using this unit.â€ But that advice is buried deep in the manual's text.
The bottom line: Consumers Union believes that the CPSC should set indoor ozone limits for all air cleaners and mandate performance tests and labels disclosing the results. CU also believes that the Federal Trade Commission should take a close look at air-cleaner ads to determine whether they include unsubstantiated and deceptive claims.
In the meantime, we recommend avoiding ionizers that performed poorly or emitted significant ozone in our tests. â€œWe can't guarantee safety at any ozone level, so it makes sense not to contaminate your living space,â€ says Jonathan Samet, M.D., chairman of the epidemiology department of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.