Negative Ions and Ozone Myths and Facts

Negative Ions and Ozone Myths and Facts

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 static electricity.
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 semiconductor.

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.

Ion Generators
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 are worthwhile.
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.
Robert O’Brian

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 revolutionary."

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
Sept. 2,1996

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 book;
" 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 negative ions.

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?

Science 101
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," he says.

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?

(Author Unknown)
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 serotonin. 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 respiratory air.

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 Affective Disorder
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 disorder.
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 biochemistry.

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
Jim Karnstedt
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 smoothly.

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 and concentration.

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 conditions.

"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).

"Monotonous Regularity"
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 microbes

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 (Soyka, 1991).

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 (Soyka, 1991).

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).

Driving mad
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 (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).

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