Ions help freshen and purify the air
By causing allergens such as pollen,
mold spores, dust, and animal dander floating in the air (which have either a neutral or a positive
charge) to be attracted to and stick to each other, forming 'clumps' (because opposite charges
attract). These clumps of particles then become heavy enough so that
gravity can pull them down to the floor, where they can be vacuumed up, rather than staying in
suspension where they can be breathed in and cause allergic reactions.
Negative Air Ions help kill
germs in the air
Research has shown that negative air ions have a
bactericidal effect [PDF] on
Depression and Mood
Negative ions also have been shown to help
lift mood, alleviate depression and seasonal affective disorder (winter depression or SAD). There is
even a patent by a prominent
researcher and institution for the treatment of depression with negative ions.
Because there is no fan (like in filter-type air filters or room air
purifiers), the dust on floors and tables is not stirred up, and so the air in a room with a
negative ionizer in use can become almost completely free of dust and pollen.
When a Comtech Research negative ionizer is in
use, the dust particles than can normally be seen in a sunbeam shining in the window are either
partially or totally gone.
The spot of light on the
floor is visible, but NOT the sunbeam between the window and the floor!
Negative ionization of the air does a superb job of eliminating
most tiny particles that float in the air.
They are normally suspended in the air (even
when the air in the room seems calm) just by the normal convective air currents. You've seen dust
floating in a beam of sunlight shining in the window, haven't you? Well, when a
high-density negative ionizer (such as our IG-133- series models) is in
operation in the room, you see very little (if any) of that. It's really quite impressive to
experience. That is
the reason they can help people with allergies: they help remove dust, pollen, mold spores, and
other allergens from the air. Of course, if you have a window open on a windy day and the pollen is
blowing in, no negative ionizer will clear the air quickly enough to help anyone.
Ionized room air does NOT have to pass through a filter or be circulated by
a fan to be cleaned.
The negative ions generated by the ionizer emanate from the unit
throughout the room and cause dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, etc. to clump together and drop
out of the air. In a filter-type purifier with a fan or blower, only the air that goes through the
filter can be cleaned. And even then, the tiniest particles still can flow through the filter. These
tiny particulates can be better removed by ionization than filtering, even HEPA filters.
But why are
they called NEGATIVE ions?
- Negative ions can have a positive effect on people.
- But positive ions can have a negative effect on people.
- An atom that has one of its normal orbiting electrons removed is called a positive ion.
(Doesn't "positive" imply that something has been added?)
- But an atom that has an extra electron added is called a negative ion.
(Doesn't "negative" imply that something has been removed?)
So you see, it's really kind of backwards. The terms Negative and Positive are actually reversed,
in this context. It's a misnomer that we can blame on Benjamin Franklin (so we hear) who lived in the 1700's. Back in his time, electrons
(with a "negative" charge) and atoms were not understood correctly. But the word negative
is still being used this way; to this
day, an atom with an extra electron is still called a negative ion.
So, we're all still stuck with this 18th century terminology, and that's why they're called
High levels of negative ions ...
Are desirable. They're naturally found in places like the beach, in the mountains, in the country, in pine
forests, near waterfalls, and many other places that people like to be -- all the places that we
feel good after we visit them.
The evaporation of water can produce a moderate amount of negative air ions; the small positive charges are left
behind in the water.
High levels of Positive ions
Are undesirable. They're found:
- Indoors where a TV or computer monitor
(CRT) is operating
- Indoors and outdoors where warm, dry winds
- Wherever the air is polluted. Air
pollution uses up negative ions
- Air is stripped of electrons as it flows
through ductwork, creating unwanted positive ions.
- "Remember that feeling you've experienced near a waterfall or high in the
are two places that thousands of negative ions occur. They create an effect on human
- "The normal Ion count
in fresh country air is 2,000 to 4,000 negative Ions per cubic
centimeter (about the size of a sugar cube). At Yosemite Falls, you'll experience over 100,000
negative Ions per cubic centimeter. On the other hand, the level is far below 100 per cubic
centimeter on the Los Angeles freeways during rush hour."
- "While ionization of the air is mandatory in many European and Russian hospitals and work
places, it has only recently come to light in our country with the growing problem of toxic air in
our urban environments."
From "Whole Self", Spring 1991, an article entitled "Ions and Consciousness".
Ions are charged particles
in the air that are formed in nature in different ways.
One way is when enough energy acts upon a molecule such as
carbon dioxide, oxygen, or water to eject an electron from the molecule leaving
a positively charged ion. The displaced electron attaches itself to a nearby
molecule, which then becomes a negatively charged ion. It is the negative ion of
oxygen that affects us the most.
Ions are not just static electricity! Some web sites claim that, but that is
Negative Air Ions help kill airborne bacteria
Reduction in viability of bacteria in the presence of negative
And the absence of either ozone or positive air ions.
The survival fractions shown are the mean of
Fletcher et al. BMC Microbiology 2007
Ions Can Do Strange Things To You
Researchers believe that our moods, energy and health can be
markedly improved through control of the electrical charges in the air we
||by Robert O'Brian
It was RCA's Dr. Hansell who, in 1932, stumbled
upon the behavioral effects of artificially generated air ions.
He noticed 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,
Why? Dr. Hansell investigated and found that the scientist was happy when the
ion 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.
sweltering day in Philadelphia 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
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."
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
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
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.
Article from Journal of Aviation, Space, and Environmental
(August 1982 p. 822-823)
One group of subjects served as controls and was confirmed to the test chamber for a 6-hour period under air ion conditions typical of an energy- efficient building.
The second group was similarly confined, but ion generators began operating
two hours before occupancy and continued all six hours of confinement. Generators were masked for all indications of operation, and were also present under control conditions but not turned on. Data from both groups were collected under double-blind conditions.
Summary of Results:
"Subjective perceptions of psychological state, using individual 'normalcy' as standard, reflected significant differences between control and negative ion exposure groups. Prominent perceptions reported were reductions in irritability, depression, and tenseness, and increases in calmness and stimulation associated with ion exposure. For psychological state,
negative ion exposure appeared associated with feeling better about self, less sensitive, and more responsive or innervated
Authors: L.W. Buckalew and A. Rizzuto
Source: Air Force Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force base, Dayton Ohio
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