Myth: "Ozone" and "Negative ions" refer to the same thing.
Fact: Not so. They are very different.
A negative ion is an oxygen atom with an extra electron. It is odorless.
Ozone is an oxygen molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms. You can smell
ozone if the concentration is high enough.
Myth: Ozone and negative ions perform exactly
the same functions in purifying the air.
Fact: The functions they perform are as different
as night and day. Sometimes both are needed to purify the air we breathe.
Negative ions rid the air of pollen, dust, etc.: stuff you can see under a
microscope. Ozone cannot. Negative ions also can improve mood. Ozone cannot
do that, either.
Ozone gets rid of odors, pollutants, etc.; stuff at the molecular level (although
negative ions can get rid of some odors, too.)
Myth: Negative ions are nothing more than ordinary
Fact: That is a falsehood. Is there static electricity
near waterfalls or other areas where negative ions are naturally generated?
Of course not. Although
some ionizers can induce a 'static' charge on nearby objects under certain
conditions, negative ions flow through the air like electricity through a
Myth: Negative ions can go through walls.
Fact: No way. Neither can ozone, although ozone (if present) can go through
heating and cooling ductwork. Negative ions generally cannot; they are attracted
to the filter, air conditioner evaporator coil (A-coil), and very few emerge
at furnace or air conditioning vents. The exception is properly designed
and placed UV lamps, although they do not put as many negative ions into
the room as a good room ionizer.
Myth: Too high a level of negative ions in the
room is bad for you.
Fact: Negative ions have not been found to be
harmful even in very high concentrations. Just the opposite has been found
the case. In fact, there are patents using
high-density negative ions to treat depression.
Myth: Ozone is ALWAYS a bad thing.
Fact: While ozone in extremely high concentrations is a toxic gas, if the ozone
level is properly selected, the ozone and the pollutants/odors in the air
CANCEL EACH OTHER. Overlooking this fact is the cause of the ozone controversy
we sometimes see. What is more, a little ozone is often far preferable to
the toxic gases and pollutants it can eliminate from the air we breathe.
by T. Neil Davis
This column is provided as a public service by the Geophysical Institute,
University of Alaska Fairbanks, in cooperation with the UAF research community.
T. Neil Davis is a seismologist at the institute.
For more than ten years, controversy has swirled around the usefulness of ion
generators sold (at roughly 100 dollars each) to improve air quality in homes
and offices. Total American sales of ion generators was near the ten million
dollar mark in 1980, so obviously many people think or hope the generators
The stated purpose of a home or office ion generator is to increase in the
air the number of molecules or molecular clusters that carry positive or negative
charges--such molecules or clusters are called ions, even though the name ion
has a broader meaning for most scientists.
Any volume of natural air near the earth's surface contains roughly equal
numbers of positive and negative ions, there being about a thousand or so of
each in a cubic centimeter of natural air. Since there are more than ten billion
billion air molecules per cubic centimeter, the ratio of ions to neutral air
molecules is pretty small.
The relatively few ions that do exist in the air are created mostly by decay
of radioactive materials in the earth's crust and by cosmic rays striking the
air. Because more cosmic rays come into the polar regions than the tropics,
there is tendency for higher ion concentrations in the air at high latitude.
Such a trend bodes well for those of us who live in the North, if it is really
true, as many claim, that high ion concentrations make for a better living
environment. It certainly is true that in urban areas where air pollution is
severe the concentration of ions in the air is very low. In an urban office
the ions may number as few as fifty per cubic centimeter.
Ions attach to pollution particles and may assist in sweeping the pollution
particles out of the air by interacting with electric fields that exist naturally
in the air. If that really happens as claimed, then an effective ion generator
is useful. It is also argued that the existence of high ion concentrations
in air promotes plant growth, inhibits bacterial growth and generally makes
people feel better. Clearly this is one of those issues needing further investigation.
Ions Can Do Strange Things To You
Researchers believe that through control of the electrical charges in the air
we breathe, our moods, energy and health can be markedly improved.
Reprinted from Reader's Digest
Condensed from The Rotarian.
One sweltering day in Philadelphia this summer a man sat before a small metal
box resting atop a hospital file cabinet. It was plugged into an ordinary wall
socket. A doctor flipped a switch. Inside the box a small fan whirred; the
box hummed distantly, like a high-tension wire, and gave off a faint, sweetish
odor. Soon the man felt alert, magical, refreshed, as though he had been taking
deep gulps of sparkling October air. The doctor turned the machine off, switched
on another that looked just like it. The air grew quickly stale. The man's
head felt stuffy. His eyes smarted. His head began to ache. He felt vaguely
depressed and tired.
With this simple experiment, the scientist, Dr. Igho H. Kornblueh, of the American
institute of Medical Climatology, demonstrated the effect that atmospheric
ions can have on human beings. The first machine generated negative ions; the
second positive ions.
The air around us is filled with these electrically charged particles. They
are generated in invisible billions by cosmic rays, radioactive elements in
the soil, ultraviolet radiation, storms, waterfall, winds, the friction of
blowing sand or dust. Every time we draw a breath they fill our lungs and are
carried by the blood to our body cells. They appear to have a lot to do with
such varied things as our moods, why cattle grow skittish before a storm, why
rheumatic joints "tingle" when the barometer falls, and how ants
know in advance that it's going to rain, in time to block their tunnels.
Falling barometric pressure and hot, dry, seasonal winds, such as the Alpine
Fohn and the Rocky Mountain Chinook, for example, pack the air with an excess
of positive ions. Not everyone is affected; healthy young people swiftly adapt
to the change. But countless others are distressed. The aged come down with
respiratory complaints, aching joints; asthma sufferers wheeze and gasp; children
grow cranky and perverse; crime and suicide rates climb.
On the other hand, a preponderance of negative ions spices the air with exhilarating
freshness. We feel on top of the world. Dr. C. W. Hansell, research fellow
at RCA Laboratories and an international authority on ionization, illustrates
the effect with a story about his ten-year-old daughter. "We were outside,
watching the approach of a thunderstorm. I knew that clouds of negative ions
were filling the air. Suddenly my daughter began to dance across the grass,
a radiant look in her face. She leaped up on a low boulder, threw her arms
wide to the dark sky, and cried. 'Oh, I feel wonderful!'"
Negative ions "cure" nothing that we know of, at most afford relief
only so long as one inhales them. Many doctors doubt their therapeutic effects.
But there is a growing army of people who swear by them.
At the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate Hospital and at Northeastern
and Frankford hospitals in Philadelphia, Dr. Kornblueh and his associates have
administered negative-ion treatments to hundreds of patients suffering from
hay fever or bronchial asthma. Of the total, 63 percent have experienced partial
to total relief. "They come in sneezing, eyes watering, noses itching,
worn out from lack of sleep, so miserable they can hardly walk," one doctor
told me. "Fifteen minutes in front of the negative-ion machine and they
feel so much better they don't want to leave."
It was RCA's Dr. Hansell who, in 1932, stumbled upon the behavioral effects
of artificially generated ions. He notice a startling swing in the moods of
a fellow RCA scientist who worked beside an electrostatic generator. Some days
the scientist finished work alert and in bubbling good spirits. On other days
he was rude, ill-tempered, depressed. Dr. Hansell investigated found that the
scientist was happy when the generator was adjusted to produce negative ions,
morose when it was producing positive ions. A few months later, reports of
ionization research in Europe confirmed the strange experience.
A few years ago atmospheric ions became suddenly important to military, researchers
in environmental medicine. How would they affect men locked in submarines?
In space ships? What were the possibilities of ions therapy? Research programs
multiplied, with fantastic results.
In Philadelphia Dr. Kornblueh studied brain-wave patterns and found evidence
that negative ions tranquilized persons in severe pain. In one dramatic test
he held a negative ionizer to the nose and mouth of a factory worker who had
been rushed to Northeastern Hospital with second-degree steam burns on his
back and legs. In minutes the pain was gone. Morphine, customarily administered
in such cases, was never necessary.
Today all burn cases at Northeastern are immediately put in a windowless,
ion conditioned room. In ten minutes, usually, the pain has gone. Patients
are left in the room for 30 minutes. The treatment is repeated three times
every 24 hours. In 85 percents of the cases no pain-deadening narcotics are
needed. Says Northeastern's Dr. Robert McGowan, "Negative ions make burns
dry out faster, heal faster and with less scarring. They also reduce the need
for skin-grafting. They make the patient more optimistic. He sleeps better."
Encouraged by this success in burn therapy, Dr. Kornblueh, Dr. J. R. Minehart,
Northeastern's chief surgeon, and his associate Dr. T. A. David boldly tried
negative ions in relief of deep, postoperative pain. During an eight month
test period they exposed 138 patients to negative ions on the first and second
days after surgery. Dr. Kornblueh has just announced the results at a London
congress of bioclimatologists. In 79 cases 57 percent of the total negative
ions eliminated or drastically reduced pain."At first," says Dr.
Minehart, "I thought it was voodoo. Now I'm convinced that it's real and
Experiments by Dr. Albert P. Krueger and Dr. Richard F. Smith at the University
of California have shown how ionization affects those sensitive to airborne
allergens. Our bronchial tubes and trachea, or windpipe, are lined with tiny
filaments called cilia. The cilia normally maintain a whip like motion of about
900 beats a minute. Together with mucus, they keep our air passages free of
dust and pollen. Krueger and Smith exposed tracheal tissue to negative ions,
found that the ciliary beat was speeded up 1200 a minute and that mucus flow
was increased. Doses of positive ions produced the opposite effect: ciliary
beat slowed to 600 a minute or less; the flow of mucus dropped.
In experiments that may prove important in cancer research. Drs. Krueger and
Smith also discovered that cigarette smoke slows down the cilia and impairs
their ability to clear foreign, and possibly carcinogenic (cancer-inducing),
substances from the lungs. Positive ions, administered along with cigarette
smoke, lowered the ciliary beat as before, but from three to ten time faster
than in normal air. Negative ions however, counteracted the effects of the
smoke. Observed Dr. Krueger, "The agent in cigarette smoke that slows
down the ciliary beat is not known. Whatever it may be, its action is effectively
neutralized by negative ions, which raise the ciliary beat as well in a heavy
atmosphere of cigarette smoke as they do in fresh air."
How do ions trip off our moods? Most authorities agree that ions act on our
capacity to absorb and utilize oxygen. Negative ions in the blood stream accelerate
the delivery of oxygen to our cells and tissues, frequently giving us the same
euphoric jolt that we get from a few whiffs of straight oxygen. Positive ions
slow down the delivery of oxygen, producing symptoms markedly like those in
anoxia, or oxygen starvation. Researchers also believe that negative ions may
stimulate the reticuloendothelial system; a group of defense cells in our bodies
which marshal our resistance to disease.
Dr. Krueger predicts that we shall some day regulate the ion level indoors
much as we now regulate temperature and humidity. Ironically, today's air-conditioned
buildings, trains and planes frequently become supercharged with harmful positive
ions because the metal blowers, filters and ducts of air-conditioning systems
strip the air of negative ions before it reaches its destination. Says RCA's
Dr. Hansell, "This explains why so many people in air conditioned spots
feel depressed and have an urge to throw open a window."
Air conditioner manufacturers are designing new systems that increase negative
ionization. The American Broadcasting Co. will equip its new 30 story New York
City headquarters with ion control. Two national concerns, Philco and Emerson
Electric, already have ion control air conditioning systems on the market.
RCA, Westinghouse, General Electric and Carrier Corp. have similar products
under study or development.
We still have much to learn about atmospheric ions . But researches believe
that these magic bits of electricity, under artificial control, will soon be
helping millions to healthier, happier, more productive lives.
Asthma and Ions
Advanced Research on Atmospheric Ions and Respiratory Problems
by Guy Cramer
Ions are small particles that take on an electrical charge. In nature we tend
to find between a few hundred to a few thousand of these ions per cubic centimeter.
The small particles that take on this charge are either negatively charged,
positively charged or neutral. In a cubic centimeter of air out over a grass
field, we find the ratio is almost balanced between negative ions and positive
ions. In other words we are breathing quantities of electricity.
Positive ions are known to make asthma victims worse. Positive ion winds such
as the Chinook Wind in Calgary, Alta., Canada and the Santa Ana Winds in Southern
California are known to coincide with Asthma attacks. There are many areas
around the would known for positive ion winds (times when the ion balance has
more positive ions per cubic centimeter than negative ions).
A Doctor treating burn victims with negative ion generators found that those
patients who also had respiratory problems - chronic bronchitis or asthma -
all reported that negative ion therapy helped them breath more easily. With
these findings the Doctor started research into the effects of ions on respiratory
ills. This research was carried out at the Northeastern Hospital, at the University
of Pennsylvania's Graduate Hospital, and the Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia.
He found 63% of patients suffering from hay fever or bronchial asthma "have
experienced partial or total relief" because of negative ion therapy.
One hospital doctor who worked on the project said later, " They come
in sneezing, eyes watering, nose itching, worn out from lack of sleep, so miserable
they can hardly walk. Fifteen minutes in front of the negative ion machine
and they feel so much better they don't even want to leave."
In Britain two Oxford University statisticians conducted a study among 100
victims of asthma, bronchitis, and hay fever chosen at random from a list of
people who had purchased negative ion generators in the hope that it would
help their problems. In the end their report was based on interviews with only
74 of the 100. They found that 18 of 24 asthmatics; 13 of 17 bronchitis sufferers;
11 of 12 hay fever victims; and 6 of 10 people afflicted with nasal catarrh
reported that negative ion generators had noticeably improved their condition.
A few claimed the generator had cured them.
Brazilian Hospitals have commonly used ionizing devices for the treatment
of breathing problems, including allergies, following a test involving 36 children
with asthmatic allergies. All of them had consistent and in some cases crippling
problems before taking negative ion therapy; during the treatment only one
of them suffered an allergy attack and afterward all were reportedly cured,
at least to the point that they no longer suffered problems so long as they
took part in occasional negative ion therapy sessions.
In 1966 at a hospital in Jerusalem, doctors performed a series of tests on
thirty- eight infants between two and twelve months old. All suffered to about
the same degree from respiratory problems. They were divided into two groups
of nineteen, one kept as a control group in a ward without any ion charge and
the other where a negative ion generator was in use.
The researchers reported that negative ions without any other treatment -
that is, no drugs - seemed to cure attacks of asthma and bronchitis more quickly
than drugs, antibiotics included. They also observed that there were none of
the "adverse side effects" frequently found when treating such children
with drugs. They concluded that the children treated with negative ions were
less prone to "rebound attacks" (relapses). As to objectivity, the
scientific report said that the tests "demonstrated that the atmospheric
ions have an effect on infants, especially those suffering from asthmatic bronchitis." Less
scientifically, they found that babies didn't cry as often and as loudly when
they were breathing negative ions as they did in normal air. And there is nothing
subjective about a bawling baby.
Humidity and Asthma
In humid areas - New York in high summer, for instance, or in Toronto - part
of the familiar discomfort is caused by the fact that air becomes ion-depleted.
Really humid days are murder for anyone suffering from asthma or any respiratory
allergy, and the fact that such people find it difficult to breath in hot,
humid air may have less to do with the amount of oxygen in the air then with
the massive negative ion depletion. Air electricity is quickly conducted to
the ground by the moisture in the air, and what negative ions there are attach
themselves to particles of moisture and dust and lose their charge. We have
seen how positive ions make breathing more difficult and reduce the body's
ability to absorb oxygen; and how negative ions help breathing and improve
oxygen absorption. (*NOTE; DO NOT USE HUMIDIFIERS OR VAPORIZERS WITH NEGATIVE
ION GENERATORS. NEGATIVE IONS WILL ATTACH TO WATER MOLECULES FROM THE HUMIDIFIER
OR VAPORIZER AND CREATE POSITIVE IONS. OUR OWN STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THIS EFFECT.)
Pollen, Pollution and Asthma
The ion count is always low in cities where there's precious little open ground
to generate them. Pollution makes a bad situation worse, since it tends to
deplete the negative ion count even more. The high pollen count in certain
parts of North America each fall cuts even further into the negative ion count,
since pollen has the same effect as dust. The end result is that the total
ion count in cities is always down to what many scientists consider perilously
low levels. As if that weren't bad enough, the normal 5 - 4 ratio of positive
ions to negative ions is distorted so that people are, in a sense, victims
of positive ion poisoning.
Central Air Conditioning and Heating
Hot or cool air forced through the duct work of most central heating and air-
conditioning systems sets up friction that results in the loss of almost all
the negative ions and also draws most of the positive ions out of the air as
well. Then comes the coup-de-grace: This air with some positive and virtually
no negative ions is forced out through vents in to rooms, offices and passages
- and as it passes through the vents more friction is set up that generates
an additional overload of positive ions. What finally comes out of most heating
or air- conditioning outlets in the offices we work in and the rooms we live
in is likely to be an overload of positive ions which will upset the mental
and physical equilibrium of everyone, not only those of us who are ion sensitive.
Just how bad these systems are depends to a great extent on their design and
the material from which the duct work is made. The design or layout of the
whole system is crucial. At bends and curves and right-angle junctions the
friction between ducts and air increases and has the effect of increasing the
number of positive ions in the air. What comes out of the heating and cooling
vents in any centrally heated or air-conditioned building is air that is not
only low in total ions, but also has a heavy positive ion count when measured
against the almost negligible quantity of negative ions. It is because of the
design of this duct work that some parts of a building may be more "uncomfortable" to
work in then others. That depends on whether you're on the receiving end of
air that has passed a particular section of duct work, where there is a sharp
bend near the outlet - as the air is forced around bends and corners there
is greater friction and a consequent increase in positive ions.
Asthma and Synthetics
Asthmatics or people with emphysema and other respiratory ills often suffer
additional agonies because of the cloth they wear, and are just as often unaware
of the reason why they suffer. Dr. Bernard Watson, professor of medical electronics
at Britain's St. Bartholomew's Teaching Hospital in London, says: "Changing
the immediate unhealthy ion environment to help asthmatic means changing everything,
clothes, sheets, furniture - just everything." One of his patients a girl
at that time of fourteen, who had begun to suffer from serve migraine because
of clothing - and then cured it herself. When she grew to adolescence and began
to wear, with great pride, nylon bras and panties favored by most women, she
began to suffer from occasional headaches for the first time in her life. When
she graduated to slips and night-dresses and pretty nylon blouses, she became
a full-fledged migraine sufferer. Her local general practitioner could offer
neither explanation nor help beyond suggesting the onset of menstruation as
a cause. But the girl was bright enough to associate the clothes of blooming
womanhood with her problem and promptly abandoned the feminine underwear and
nightdresses. Now her clothes are of cotton, which is the only fiber that creates
no charge at all, and of natural fibers like wool, which carry little charge
of either kind. However, once migraine has taken root it is not easy to cure
and Dr. Watson is still treating the girl, in part by suggesting to her parents
that certain items of furniture in their home should be removed.
The Director of the Danish Air Ionization Institute, Christian Bach (electrical
engineer) has studied the clothes and environments of asthmatics and others
who suffer from positive ion poisoning, then pinpoints the offending fabrics
and articles that are throwing the ion effect out of balance. Bach and his
colleagues have worked with many hospitals in treating many victims of asthma
and other respiratory ills.
Bach tells of what has become a classic case history involving a woman who
had asthma in her own apartment but not in the homes of friends. Even a negative
ion generator was of no help, so Bach conducted what must have been one of
the oddest investigations in history: Was the culprit the furniture, the television
set, the bedding, the lamp shades? Bach found that the lady's taste ran mostly
to modern synthetic fabrics. However, that alone was insufficient to explain
the problem, so Back began cross-examining the woman about her housekeeping.
He found that her furniture was treated with cellulose and silicone-based furniture
finishes. Laboratory tests proved that such finishes, when rubbed with polishing
rags and dusters, produce a positive charge. Then he visited the friends in
whose home her asthma condition disappeared. There he found that the furniture
was hand polished with old-fashioned wax and elbow grease, which produced no
static charge at all. Bach coated the victim's furniture with an anti-static
compound, told her to buy antique furniture without modern wood treatments,
and her asthma attacks ceased.
In all, Bach had by 1967 treated almost 1,000 hay fever and asthma cases whose
problems were cured or eased by his "passive therapy" approach. in
one case, he says, a man became an asthma victim because his wife bought two
new lampshades that led to overproduction of positive ions; In another instance
several members of the same family became sufferers because their new television
set had a teak cabinet that had been treated with cellulose. He also. He also
tells of one instance in which he was called in to help save the fortunes of
a chicken farmer. The farmer had two monstrous chicken houses each housing
20,000 chickens. In one of them between 150 and 200 chickens died every week.
Bach found that both chicken houses were of identical design and construction,
except that the one where the chickens died had a roof lined with sheets of
plastic while the other had a roof lined of wood. Whenever there was a change
in whether the death rate went up. Bach concluded that when the whether changes
affected air electricity the plastic stimulated the production of positive
ion overdoses. He treated the roof with anti-static substance, and within weeks
the chicken mortality rate was normal in both hen coops.
Bach says like all Scandinavians, the Danes keep their homes spotless, forever
flourishing dusters, wielding brooms, pushing vacuum cleaners, and otherwise
raising clouds of dust to which negative ions are attracted, and so disappear
as physiologically active small ions. It is it would seem, healthier to be
a sloppy housecleaner then a meticulous one. At the International Ion Research
Conference in Philadelphia in 1961. Dr. Hansell ended his speech by saying
that to prevent a buildup of potentially harmful ions the person who comes
home from work should promptly take his shoes off and walk around the carpets
in their stocking feet. And he added, "My suggestion to the house cleaner
is that it is very well known fact that it is very difficult to get a charge
from a dirty surface. They should not, I suggest be too house proud."
Respiratory Tract and Ions
In the mid-1960s, Experiments showed that the cilia of the trachea, or windpipes,
of small animals are stimulated by negative ions and depressed by positive
ions. Human cilia, like those of small animals are microscopic hairs that maintain
a whip like motion of about 100 beats per minute while cleaning the air we
inhale of dust and pollen and other matter that should not reach the lungs.
Subjected to tobacco smoke, which absorbs negative ions, the cilia slow down.
Tobacco smoke plus positive ions make this slow-down take place from three
to ten times more quickly than does smoke alone. An overdose of negative ions,
however, neutralizes the effect of smoke on the cilia. Although this experiment
took place in a laboratory and involved mice, rats, and rabbits, the implications
are clear: Smoking and other forms pollution that absorb negative ions may
also damage the ability of the cilia to clean the air that finally ends up
in the lungs. Does that mean their is a relationship between positive ions
and the incidence of lung cancer, particularly in smokers? As Bach points out,
that is one of the many things about ionization we don't yet know, though scientists
are investing the relationship.
The effect of ions on respiration is more obvious. The U.S. experimenters
Windsor and Becket gave sixteen volunteer overdoses of positive ions for just
20 minutes at a time and all of them developed dry throats, husky voices, headaches,
and itchy or obstructed noses. Five of the volunteers were tested for total
breathing capacity, and it was found that a positive ion overdose reduced that
capacity by 30 percent. Exposed to negative ions for ten minutes , the volunteers
maximum breathing capacity was unaffected. What is significant here is that
negative ions did not effect the amount of air breathed, but positive ions
made breathing more difficult.
Negative ion generators (sold in North America as Air Purifiers / with negative
ion generator). You should only have to pay between $50.00 - $250.00 for a
negative ion generator depending on room size, (In certain areas medical covers
some of these costs.). Bionaire sells these in Europe, Canada and the United
States. they can be found at some Department stores and some drug stores. The
plus for someone with respiratory difficulties is the added air purifier with
carbon filters. The newer models have a hepa filtration system in them. Make
sure you change the filters as directed in the instruction manual.
Negative ion generators are not a cure all. They do cause the body to convert
excess serotonin (the antagonist for most of the problems) into a harmless
chemical called 5HA ( 5-HIAA ).
If you do have respiratory difficulties and use a negative ion generator in
your bedroom at night beware that the negative ion generator will keep you
alert and awake longer then you might want. You may wish to only use the air
filter at night. Most negative ion generators have an on/off switch for the
ion control so you can use only the fan/filter system.
The majority of this report on Asthma and Ions was taken directly form the
The Ion Effect" by Soyka, Fred ( Lester and Orpen Limited, 1977) these
references can be found on pages 31, 35, 45, 56-57, 63, 75, 76, 77, 79-80,
84, 85, 90, 128, 129-131.
This page is Copyright 1996, by Guy Cramer, All Rights Reserved.
How do plants remove chemical vapor from the air?
(1) Plant leaves can absorb certain organic chemicals and destroy these chemicals
by a process called “metabolic breakdown.” This was proven by a
group of German scientists who labeled formaldehyde with a radioactive carbon
14 tag and followed its absorption and metabolic destruction inside a spider
plant (Chlorophytumn comosum). The formaldehyde was metabolized and converted
into tissue products such as organic acids, sugars and amino acids as demonstrated
by the radioactive carbon 14 label. This information was published in the Plant
Physiology Journal in 1994. [Martina Giese, Ulrike Bauer-Doranth, C. Langebartels,
and Henrich Sanderman, Jr. “Detoxification of formaldehyde by the spider
plant (Chlorophytum comosum). Plant Physiology, 1994, 104: 1301-1309.
(2) When plants transpire water vapor from their leaves, they pull air down
around their roots. This supplies their root microbes with oxygen. The root
microbes also use other substances in the room air, such as toxic chemicals,
as a source of food and energy. Microbes, such as bacteria, can rapidly adapt
to a chemical contaminant by producing new colonies that are resistant to the
chemical. As a result, they become more effective the longer they are exposed
to the chemical. It is also important to remember that the efficiency of plants
or a filtering device decreases as the concentration of chemicals in the air
decreases. For example, the removal rate of a chemical is much higher at 7 parts
per million (ppm) exposure than at 2 ppm.
Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes
There's something in the air that just may boost your mood -- get a whiff of
By Denise Mann
May 6, 2002 -- There's something in the air and while it may not be love, some
say it's the next best thing -- negative ions.
Negative ions are odorless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale
in abundance in certain environments. Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches.
Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical
reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate
depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.
And these are a few of the reasons we see negative-ion generators being sold
in stores and all over the Internet, but do they really work as well as antidepressants?
Can they also relieve allergies by filtering out dust mites and dander?
Ions are molecules that have gained or lost an electrical charge. . They are
created in nature as air molecules break apart due to sunlight, radiation, and
moving air and water. You may have experienced the power of negative ions when
you last set foot on the beach or walked beneath a waterfall. While part of
the euphoria is simply being around these wondrous settings and away from the
normal pressures of home and work, the air circulating in the mountains and
the beach is said to contain tens of thousands of negative ions -- Much more
than the average home or office building, which contain dozens or hundreds,
and many register a flat zero.
"The action of the pounding surf creates negative air ions and we also
see it immediately after spring thunderstorms when people report lightened moods,"
says ion researcher Michael Terman, PhD, of Columbia University in New York.
In fact, Columbia University studies of people with winter and chronic depression
show that negative ion generators relieve depression as much as antidepressants.
"The best part is that there are relatively no side effects, but we still
need to figure out appropriate doses and which people it works best on,"
Vitamins of the Air?
Generally speaking, negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to the brain;
resulting in higher alertness, decreased drowsiness, and more mental energy,"
says Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owners Manual for the Brain: Everyday
Applications from Mind Brain Research and director of research at the Center
for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C.
"They also may protect against germs in the air, resulting in decreased
irritation due to inhaling various particles that make you sneeze, cough, or
have a throat irritation."
Why Are Negative Ions So Healthy?
Lenard (1915) found that when water is atomized (e.g. on impact of a water droplet),
negative and positive charges are separated.
Molecules which are torn from the surface of the water bear a negative charge
(small negative ions) whereas large drops or the entire mass of water are positive.
This provided an unexpected explanation for the refreshing, invigorating effect
of residences close to a waterfall or spring, or even after rain.
Some of these reactions which improve well-being and physical and mental capacity
have since become known.
Negative ions accelerate the oxidative degradation serotonin whereas positive
ions have the opposite action and inactivate the enzymes which break down
An increase in the serotonin level (5-hydroxytryptamine) produces tachycardia, a rise in blood pressure, bronchospasm going as far as asthma attack, increased intestinal peristalsis (contractions and dilations of the intestines
to move the contents onwards), increased sensitivity to pain, increased aggression.
A decrease in the serotonin level is calming and increases defenses against
infection (as proven with influenza 'the flu').
Negative ions produce an increase in hemoglobin/oxygen affinity so that the
partial oxygen pressure in the blood rises but the partial carbon dioxide pressure
decreases. This results in reduced respiratory rate and enhances the metabolism
of water-soluble vitamins.
In addition, negative ions produce an increase in PH and, in particular, an
increase in the secretory performance of the mucosa with an increase in ciliary
movement in the airways.
According to the studies of Fleischer and Pantlitschko, negative ions probably
also improve blood flow by increasing the release of proteolytic enzymes with
fibrinolytic activity. Wordens studied the adrenals of golden hamsters kept
under the same experimental conditions. The adrenals of animals treated with
positive ions weighed 33% less than the adrenals of animals treated with normal
On the other hand, the weight of the adrenals from golden hamsters treated
with negative ions was 29% higher. Olivereau found a 30% enlargement of adrenals
in rats after 20 days of treatment with negative ions. This finding suggests
that the ability of the adrenals to produce glucocorticoids is reduced by positive
ions and increased by negative ions.
Considerable increase in vital capacity were observed by M.A. Vytchikova and
A. Minkh in 1959, with the maintenance of blood sugar and blood oxygen levels.
Thus, in a group of 9 sports students, Minkh found that ergometer endurance
was increased by 260% in 32 days compared with a normal control group following
the inhalation for 15 minutes daily of air enriched with 1.5 million negative
small ions per centimeter.
Even before the 1976 Olympics, air ionization in the sleeping quarters of team
members was used to improve performance in sports centres in the USSR and the
GDR [M. Jokl, Prague]. Studies by Altmann in 1975 clearly show that the performance
of school children can, for example, be considerably increased by changing the
electrical conditions of the rooms. Comparable effects have also been achieved
by the use of ionized AIR.
According to the latest information in the fields of medicine, biology and
meteorology, it can be definitively established that atmospheric ions have a
biological effect. Atmospheric electrical factors are a component of our environment
and we humans are clearly affected by electro-ionic microclimates to a far greater
extent than previously imagined.
This finding acquires particular significance since, as a result of artificial
air conditioning (e.g. atmospheric pollution, buildings, air-conditioning units,
heating, electrical installations, plastics), civilized man spends 50-100% of
his time in an unnaturally charged electroclimate. In cities, in closed rooms
and in cars, etc., the proportion of small negative ions in the atmosphere is
markedly reduced compared with undisturbed nature.
An atmosphere with an excess of negative ions, such as frequently arise under
open sky, usually induces a complete vegetative turn-around within twenty days.
In the curative phase of this total turn-around, the vegetative nervous system
is normally restored and the course of infectious diseases is essentially attenuated
(weakened) and (healing is) accelerated.
Treatment Of Seasonal
with a High-output Negative Ion Generator
Michael Terman, Ph.D., and Jiuan Su Terman, Ph.D.
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 1:87-92, 1995
This study was designed to evaluate the antidepressant effect of negative ions
in the air circulation as a potential treatment modality for seasonal affective
Twenty-five subjects with winter depression underwent a double-blind
controlled trial of negative ions at two exposure densities, 10,000 ions per
cubic cm or 2,700,000 ions per cubic cm, using an electronic negative ion generator
with wire corona emitters. Home treatments were taken in the early morning for
30 min over 20 days, followed by withdrawals.
The severity of depressive symptoms
(prominently including the reverse neurovegetative symptoms of hypersomnia,
hyperphagia and fatigability) decreased selectively for the group receiving
high-density treatment. Standard depression rating scale assessments were corroborated
by clinical global impressions.
Using a remission criterion of 50% or greater
reduction in symptom frequency/severity, 58% of subjects responded to high-density
treatment while 15% responded to low density treatment (chi-squared = 5.00,
df = 1, p = 0.025).
There were no side effects attributable to the treatment,
and all subjects who responded showed subsequent relapse during withdrawal.
Treatment with a high-density negative ionizer appears to act as a specific
antidepressant for patients with seasonal affective disorder. The method
may be useful as an alternative or supplement to light therapy and medications.
The Effects Of Air Quality On The Serotonin Irritation Syndrome
by Charles Wallach, Ph.D.
The most frequent cause of the clinical entity known as Serotonin Irritation
Syndrome (SIS) was recently discovered to be poor air quality. Although this
relationship has been intuitively recognized by many air-sensitive individuals,
it is only within the past few years that medical and scientific evidence has
solidly established the rationale of cause and effect, and air physicists have
developed appropriate technologies for eliminating localized indoor pollution
problems and restoring a healthful electrical balance to the atmosphere of confined
living and work places.
The Serotonin Irritation Syndrome is defined as a significant disturbance of
normal nervous system activity and/or the malfunction of various metabolic processes
which is characterized by abnormally high levels of serotonin (5-Hydroxytrlptamine
or 5-HT, a highly active neurochemical) in the human bloodstream(ref 1,2).
The direct effects of poor air quality in causing sudden excessive release
of serotonin into the bloodstream were first discovered by Krueger(ref 3,4),
and subsequently verified by many other scientific investigators(ref 5,6,7,8).
It has also been found that a number of other biochemical systems are also affected
adversely (e.g. catecholamines and other amines, prostaglandins, thyroxines,
etc.)6, but since the change in serotonin levels is the easiest and fastest
to measure, the variety of individual reactions to and symptoms of poor air
quality (which include headache, asthma attacks, slow thinking or even fainting
spells due to reduction of blood circulation in the brain, heightened sensitivity
to pain, moodiness and emotional irritability) are generally lumped together
under the clinical term of Serotonin Irritation Syndrome.
Whatever form it may take, this SIS phenomenon is triggered by an excessive
number of positive electrical charges in the environment, whether stationary
(static) or carried by minute gas molecules or particles (positive ions). Unfortunately,
this excess of positive charges is characteristic of many industrial and working
environment, and even of poorly ventilated rooms in homes, schools and public
institutions. However, the immediate effects of SIS are usually so small that
they are not noticed at first exposure; but, like X-ray radiation, their effects
can be insidiously cumulative and may not become apparent until weeks or months
of continuing regular exposure.
Unlike radiation, however, these cumulative effects are completely and quickly
reversible when the environmental factors causing them have been properly corrected(ref
10,11). These environmental factors, which have recently come under close study
by physicians, physicists and public health authorities in many countries, are
now understood in greater detail, and fall into the following categories:
STATIC POSITIVE CHARGES: The quality of freshness in outside air is largely
due to the fact that the balance of positive and negative charges (ions) is
about equal, so there is little or no electrical effect on the membranes of
the respiratory system and consequently no disturbance of the body's normal
In nearly every indoor environment, however, over a period of time, the walls,
ceiling and floor surfaces acquire astronomical numbers of small positive electrical
charges due to the friction of ambient air currents. Since these surfaces are
rarely made of electrically conductive materials, there are no hard (material)
paths for electron flow to neutralize these positive charges; therefore these
constantly-forming positive charges tend to continuously deplete the airspace
of its normal complement of negative ions, leaving an excess of airborne positive
ions which trigger SIS symptoms.
In most indoor environment, these many positive static charges can only be
neutralized by a continuous flow of free negative charges (electrons) which
are attracted to positive charges through the air. This electron flow can be
provided by the continuous through circulation of fresh outside air (which is
seldom practical), or by electronically generating the necessary negative charges
and propagating them throughout the closed environment.
MOBILE POSITIVE CHARGES: Nearly all of the airborne particles (e.g. dust, bacteria,
chemical pollutants, virus and fungus spores, and the particles of moisture
in which they are frequently trapped) that affect human health are also positively
charged. Usually, these are repelled from settling out on positively charged
interior surfaces and remain well-mixed with air due to Brownian motion, unless
their charges are neutralized by negative ions to the point where gravity becomes
the dominant force and they settle out as visible dust on horizontal surfaces.
The attraction of such mobile, positively charged particles for negative ions
tends to further deplete the airspace of its negative charges, and exacerbates
the conditions that trigger SIS symptoms.
In heavily polluted environments, where the airborne concentrations of positively
charged gas molecules and/or dust and germ particles is high, cumulative SIS
effects become particularly severe. This condition is traditionally treated
by massive air-exchange systems employing high-power exhaust fans, large ventilation
ducts, and elaborate filtration systems. However, in most cases such air pollution
can be sharply reduced or eliminated by electronic generation of sufficient
negative charges to neutralize the positive charges causing the pollutants to
remain in the air -- with the result that they are quickly precipitated to the
floor by gravity.
COMBUSTION IONS: Any form of combustion generates positive ions. All gas molecules
and smoke particles resulting from combustion are positively charged. This is
why people become sleepy, dull-witted or irritable in an inadequately ventilated
room with an open fire -- or hazy with tobacco smoke. It is not generally realized
that human life processes involve the combustion (oxidation) of fuel (nutrients),
and that people take in negative charges and give off positive ones. This is
why, in crowded rooms without adequate ventilation, people often have headaches(ref
1,2), become sleepy, dull-witted or irritable(ref 1,3) in the "heavy"
air -- typical examples of the SIS problem. This condition can also be handled
by massive, energy-costly ventilation systems, or by the electronic generation
of negative charges in the environment.
It is evident that a variety of common and widespread physical and/or mental
symptoms (which are characterized as the Serotonin Irritation Syndrome in the
medical literature) have been seen to develop in a large fraction of the population
frequently and repeatedly subjected to poor air conditions in which positive
electrical charges predominate. It has also been shown that these symptoms disappear
when the environment is either adequately ventilated with fresh air, or equipped
with an appropriate electron generation system. In addition to the medically
proven benefits to human health in closed environments, it has also been abundantly
demonstrated that the use of properly designed and installed electron generation
devices can produce significant energy economies and perform efficiently and
effectively as air cleaners and deodorizers.
Negative Ions and Consciousness
Your awareness is in the air...For centuries, yoga masters of the East have taught
that breath is life, and by altering the intake of air, one could alter one's
consciousness. The quality of the air we describe as prana or life energy. Now,Western
science has coined a name for at least one aspect of that energy and called it
"ions." More and more individuals are finding that these tiny electric
charges have a lot to do with their awareness.
For the uninitiated, ions are charged particles in the air that are formed
when enough energy acts upon a molecule, such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, water,
or nitrogen to eject an electron. The displaced electron attaches itself to
a nearby molecule, which then becomes a negative ion. It is the negative ion
of oxygen that effects us most. Remember that feeling you have experienced near
a waterfall, or high in the mountains? Those are two such places where thousands
of negative ions occur. They create an effect on human biochemistry. Some of
nature's other best known negative ion resources are air friction, lightning,
falling water, earth's radioactivity, and even evergreens and ferns.
The normal ion count in fresh country air is 2,000-4,000 negative ions per
cubic centimeter (cm3 is about the size of a sugar cube). At Yosemite falls,
you will experience over 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. On the
other hand, the level is far below 100 per cubic centimeter on Los Angeles freeways
during rush hour.
Research on ions began in 1950's with Dr. Albert Kreuger, professor emeritus
of the University of California at Berkeley, and Dr. Felix Sulman, professor
of pharmacology at the Hebrew University in Israel.
Dr. Kreuger excited the scientific world when he discovered ions to be biologically
active, stimulating the production of the powerful chemical serotonin of 5-HT.
Serotonin is a very active neuro-hormone which causes profound neural, glandular,
and digestive effects throughout the body. Tests show that positive ions increase
production of 5-HT; negative ions decrease the hormone level.
Dr. Sulman corroborated Kreugers' findings while studying positive ion victims
of the hot, dry Sharav winds in Jerusalem. He demonstrated three effects of
positive ion excess: irritation and tension, exhaustion, and hyperthyroid response.
Most of these conditions, along with symptoms of depression, anxiety, headaches,
and low energy physical and mental functions, were shown to be alleviated or
totally eliminated by increasing the negative ion count in the air.
Negative ions break down serotonin and thereby give one a clear, alert outlook
with a higher awareness function. The primary reason for this is the increased
speed with which the nerve impulses can travel along the synapses in the brain
and the rest of the body.
"Negative Ions promote alpha brain waves and increase brain wave amplitude,
which translates to a higher awareness level."
The metabolism is enhanced to create better utilization of nutrients from our
foods and vitamins, while our brain's intuitive, nonlinear activities flow more
Negative ions promote alpha brain waves and increase brain waves amplitude,
which translates to a higher awareness level. Those ion-induced alpha waves
spread from the occipital areas to the parietal and temporal and even reach
the frontal lobes, spreading evenly across the right and left brain hemispheres.
All of this creates an overall clear and calming effect, benefiting meditation
While ionization of the air is mandatory in many European and Russian hospitals
and workplaces, it has only recently come to light in our country with the growing
problems to toxic air in our urban environments.
"The negative ion count per cubic centimeter at Yosemite Falls is over
100,000. On the other hand the count is far below 100 on the Los Angeles Freeways..."
Jan Stolwijk, of the World Health Organization, stated that, "there is
probably more damage done to human health by indoor air pollution than by outdoor
pollution." Most people spend 70% to 80% of their time indoors!
The late William Radley, a Bay Area environmental health expert, coined the
term "orthomolecular architecture" opening up a whole new area for
designers and architects to consider, namely, the choice of building materials
that will not release toxic fumes such as formaldehyde and hydrocarbons.
It may of been difficult to be an urban mystic in the past, but now, we can
look forward to environmental solutions that will aid us in maintaining a more
conscious and healthful life. Ionization is one of our first major steps.
Negative ions improve asthma and other respiratory
"There is nothing subjective about a bawling baby"
Brazilian hospitals now commonly use negative ion generators to treat breathing
problems, after a test involving 36 children with asthmatic allergies. In each
case, the problem was consistent or crippling. During the treatment, only one
of them suffered an asthma attack. Afterward, no attacks were suffered by any
of the children that sustained regular negative ion therapy (Soyka, 1991).
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).
In 1975, an East German doctor, who had by then treated more than 11,000 individuals
with various respiratory conditions with a negative ion electronic air cleaner,
said that his patients reported with "monotonous regularity" that
the therapy had worked (Soyka, 1991).
You gotta like these odds
In the early 1960s, Dr. A. P. Wehner used negative ion generators to treat over
1,000 patients in the U. S. suffering from various respiratory ills, such as
bronchial asthma, pulmunary emphysema, laryngitis, bronchitis, dry hacking cough,
upper respiratory tract infection, and allergies. He reported that the symptoms
completely disappeared in 30.3% of the cases, improved significantly in 42.3%
of the cases, showed some improvement in 20% of the cases, and showed no signs
of improvement in 7.4% of the cases (Wehner, 1962).
It’s all in the numbers
In Britain, two Oxford University statisticians conducted a study among victims
of asthma, bronchitis, and hay fever. The sample was randomly selected from
a list of people who had purchased a negative ion air purifier. Through interviews,
they found that 18 of 24 asthmatics, 13 of 17 bronchitis sufferers, 11 of 12
hay fever victims, and 6 of 10 suffering from nasal catarrh, reported that the
product had noticeably improved their condition. A few even reported that it
cured their condition (Soyka, 1991).
When a negative is better than a positive
Postive ions, which occur in high levels in many indoor environments, inhibit
the body’s ability to prevent pollutants and contaminates from entering
the vulnerable areas of the respiratory tract. However, an overdose of negative
ions has proven to provide counteraction to this effect (Kreuger, 1974; Soyka,
1991; Tchijewski, 1960).
Reduce and/or destroy bacteria, viruses and other
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
A recent study by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture found that ionizing a room led
to 52% less dust in the air, and 95% less bacteria in the air (since many of
the pollutants found in the air reside on floating dust particles).
Agriculture Research Service (of USDA)
The Agriculture Research Service of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture tested the
effectiveness of ionizers for removing dust in a poultry hatchery. The dust
level is very high in such an environment. In this study, the use of an ionizer
resulted in dust removal efficiencies that averaged between 81.1 and 92.2%.
The airborne transmission of salmonella (to the eggs) was also significantly
reduced as a result.
Journal of Hygiene
Scientists showed that ionization reduced bacterial levels in burns and plastic
surgery units by over 96% after a two week period, which results in much better
and more rapid healing of patients.
Journal of Applied Microbiology
The use of negative ions was even found by scientists to reduce the presence
of airborne viruses by about 40%. A study featured in the 1987 issue also showed
the negative ions are free from any adverse side effects.
Negative ions are needed in order to take in oxygen.
"Please, we’re dying here!"
Russian scientist, Dr. A. L. Tchijewsky, tried raising mice, rats, guinea pigs,
and rabbits in totally de-ionized air. Almost all of them died within two weeks
due to an inability to utilize oxygen properly (Tchijewski, 1960).
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
Former NASA scientist James B. Beal, who came across the negative ion problem
while studying the type of environment needed in space capsules, wrote: "The
human race was developed in ionized air. Nature used the ions in developing
our biological processes." In other words, people have been designed to
function properly in an environment that contains certain level of ionization
The more the better
Fred Soyka, author of "The Ion Effect" reports that based on the 5,000
plus scientific documents that have been published regarding negative ion studies,
all support the conclusion that an overload of negative ions seems to be beneficial
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 study conducted in a Swiss textile mill, negative ionizers were placed
in two, 60’ by 60’ rooms, each containing 22 employees. In one room,
the negative ion electronic air cleaner was turned on during the course of the
study. In the other room, the negative ion air purifier was permanently turned
off, although the employees in this room were led to believe they were working
in a room enriched by negative ions. During this six-month study, a total of
22 sick days were lost by employees working in the room in which the negative
ionizer was operating. In the room where the machine was not operating, a total
of 64 days were lost to sickness. During a month-long flu epidemic, the first
group lost a total of 3 days to sickness, while the second group lost a total
of 40 days to sickness (Stark, 1971).
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 . . ."
In a Surrey University study at the Norwich Union Insurance Group headquarters,
eight negative ion generators were placed in the computer and data preparation
section. Before the test, the research team spent a month compiling incident
rates for complaints of sickness and headaches. During the test in which the
negative ion air purification systems were in operation, incidents of sickness
and headaches were reduced by 78%. After testing was completed, the Norwich
Union opted to keep the negative ion electronic air cleaners (Soyka, 1991).
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!
In a study conducted by Columbia University, 25 people with SAD (Seasonal Affective
Depression) sat in front of a negative ion air purifier for a half hour every
morning for a month. Half the subjects were given a low level of negative ions,
and the other half a high level. The higher level of negative ion treatment
proved to be as effective against SAD as antidepressants, such as Prozac and
Zolof, and without the side effects of these drugs (Finley, 1996).
Negative ions for a positive attitude
Positive ions, which are found in abundance in most indoor environements, cause
an overproduction of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps the
body deal with mental, emotional, and physiological stress. An overproduction
initially causes hyperactivity, which rapidly leads to anxiety, and in some
cases depression. Negative ion treatment has proven to be successful in reducing
the overproduction of serotonin, and therefore successful in alleviating depression
in some cases (Kreuger, 1957).
Negative Ions Enhance Mental Performance and Concentration.
The Alpha wave rythms say it all
In 1969, Dr. Sulman, head of the department of Applied Pharmacology at Hebrew
University in Jerusalem at the time, brought in groups of people to spend some
time in a room low in negative ions, and also in a room that contained an "overdose"
of negative ions. While in each room, subjects were given word, figure, and
symbol tests. They scored "significantly higher" on these tests when
they were in the negative ion-enriched room. Plus, while in the negative ion
room, they showed (via the electroencephalogram) a slower, stronger pulse rate
of Alpha waves from the brain. Alpha wave rythms are a measure of the brain’s
acitivity and health. A slow, strong Alpha wave pulse rate indicates healthiness,
calmness, and heightened alertness. When the subjects were in the negative ion-deficient
room, they showed signs of irratibility and fatigue in addition to lower test
performance (Sulman, 1974).
The more difficult the better
In the study conducted by Surrey University at the Norwich Union Insurance Group
headquarters, the employees in the computer and data preparation section that
were exposed to high levels of negative ions showed a 28% increase in overall
task performance. The more difficult the task, the more dramatic the improvement
tended to be (Soyka, 1991).
In 1972 in Geneva, statistics showed that whenever there was a drastic change
in the weather, and a consequent drop in the negative ion concentration in the
air, traffic accident rates rose by more than 50% (Soyka, 1991).
Negative ions enhance physical performance.
The Ion Olympics
After World War II, the Russians extensively studied the relationship between
negative ions and physical performance. A team of doctors, psychologists, and
physicists observed and measured the performance of Olympic athletes in various
conditions of negative ions levels. In each test of physical performance, the
group that trained in facilities, and stayed in quarters high in negative ion
concentration showed tremendous improvements in performance in comparison to
the control group (Minkh, 1961).
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
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
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).