Are you Positive or Negative
on the Health Effects
by Steve Fowler
Many modern day researchers say
that by controlling the electrical charges in the air we breathe,
our health, mood and energy level can be improved significantly!
The bad news is that they say negative ions are good and positive
ions are not. Air ionizers such as those used in static control
emit both positive and negative ions. So one could say - at best
- we are no worse for the experience.
like to hear from our readers with stories about improved (or degraded)
mood, health and energy levels for those who work near ionizers.
Some experts say that our modern homes
and offices seal out negative ions. They also state that computer
terminals, fluorescent lighting, forced air ventilation systems,
and modern building materials generate an over abundance of positive
ions. Do positive ions make us feel tired, depressed and irritable?
According to some experts, balancing
the ionization in your workplace and home may help combat the ill
feelings associated with stressful lifestyles. The world's most
tranquil and refreshing regions are loaded with billions of negative
ions. Air near waterfalls, mountains, beaches and forests are among
those places where ionization levels are in complete and natural
balance. After a lightning storm, most of us feel invigorated and
refreshed. This is because (some say) the electrical storm has generated
trillions of tranquilizing negative ions that ease tension and leave
us full of energy.
Some studies have shown sigificant
improvementin health effects due to ions in the air we breathe.
D.J. Clarke on his web site listed the following studies:
- Scientists at the University of California
grew barley, oats lettuce and peas in an atmosphere drastically
reduced in ionization and found that growth was stunted
and the plants diseased. The same experiment, in air with
more than double the natural number of negative ions produced
- In Russia, scientists tried to raise small
animals - mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits - in air with
no ions at all. They all died within a few days.
- Dr Felix Sulman, head of the Applied Pharmacology
department at Jerusalem University, conducted experiments
with positive and negative ions on "normal" people (his
subjects were two groups of men and women between twenty
and sixty-five).When left for about an hour in a room that
contained an overdose of positive ions they became irritable
and fatigued. Yet the same people confined for the same
period of time, in air containing an overdose of negative
ions showed a pattern of brainwaves that suggested increased
alertness and relaxation. He tested their alertness and
work capacity by various means and all of them scored significantly
higher during, and immediately after, exposure to a high
level of negative ions than in "normal" air.
- Dr Sulman also undertook a study of "weather
sensitive" volunteers and showed that, during the time of
the Sharav winds, their bodies would produce up to ten times
their normal level of serotonin - a hormone associated with
stress. He found that, in effect, they were being poisoned
by their own serotonin, causing migraines, hot flushes,
irritability, pains around the heart, difficulty in breathing
and a worsening of bronchial complaints, anxiety and irrational
tension. Also a slowing of reactions was observed. Interestingly,
it was discovered that in many people, the body's initial
respond to positive ions is to produce adrenaline and noradrenaline
- the "fight or flight" hormones - which produces short-term
euphoria but eventually leads to a condition of exhaustion.
(It is this condition that is thought to affect insects
and animals into restless activity as the positive ions
build up before a storm.) The research also showed that
exposure to positive ions can trigger an over-production
of histamine, which most people will immediately recognise
as the body chemical that aggravates allergies. Statistically
it was found that 25% of the population are quite strongly
affected by levels of ions in the air. Of the remainder,
50% are affected considerably, although 25% do not appear
sensitive at all.
- A great deal of research was also carried
out by Dr. Albert Krueger in California - One of his first
discoveries was that a surprisingly small amount of negative
ions could kill and take out of the air, the types of bacteria
that cause colds, influenza and respiratory infections.
He then went on to keep large groups of mice in various
concentrations of ions, some positive, some negative and
some in normal balance. In 1960 a scientific paper was published
on the results. The conclusions were almost identical to
those of Dr. Sulman. An excess of positive ions led to overproduction
of serotonin which initially created hyperactivity, leading
to exhaustion, anxiety and depression. He also found that
an excess of negative ions appeared to have a calming effect,
and a reducing of serotonin levels in the brain. (Negative
ions were actually substituted for a pharmaceutical tranquiliser
on one occasion - with identical results). The series of
experiments were then extended to include rats, guinea pigs
and rabbits as well as insects and plants. The results consistently
supported the original findings. On one occasion, mice were
kept in a sealed container until the oxygen was almost used
up and they were on the verge of suffocation. The remaining
air was negatively ionized - and the mice revived!
- In a major 16-week trial conducted by
Surrey University at the Norwich Union Insurance Group's
headquarters, eight negative ion generators were fitted
in the computer and data preparation section, the typing
area and the motor underwriting department. Before the tests
got under way, the University team spent a month compiling
incidence rates of complaints of sickness and headaches.
The experiments were "double- blind"-so that neither the
staff nor the researchers knew whether the ionizers were
on or off at any given time. The most dramatic results were
in the air-conditioned areas, the incidence of headaches
in the computer room being reduced by 78 per cent during
the midnight to 08.30 shift. Norwich Union was sufficiently
convinced to decide to keep the ionizers, and order another
ten ceiling-mounted models, giving them 20,000 sq ft of
ionized office space.
- Part of Surrey University's experiments
concerned concentration ability and the studies showed that
negative ionization could improve task performance by as
much as 28 per cent. In general, the more difficult the
task, the more improvement could be accomplished by negative
- At the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate
Hospital and at Northeastern and Frankford hospitals in
Philadelphia. Dr. Kornblueh and his associates administered
negative ion treatments to hundreds of patients suffering
from hay fever or bronchial asthma. Of the total, 63 percent
experienced partial to total relief.
- Effective Pain-Killer In Philadelphia
Dr. Kornblueh studied brain-wave patterns and found evidence
that negative ions tranquilised persons in severe pain.
Burn cases at Northeastern were immediately put in a windowless,
ion-conditioned room. In ten minutes, usually, the pain
was gone. Morphine, customarily administered in such cases,
was never necessary. Patients were left in the room for
30 minutes, with the treatment repeated three times every
14 hours. In 85 percent of the cases no pain-deadening narcotics
were needed. Northeastern's Dr. Robert McGowan reported
"Negative ions make burns dry out faster and heal faster
with less scarring."
- Following this success in burn therapy,
Dr. Kornblueh, Dr. J.R. Minehart, Northeastern's chief surgeon,
and his associate Dr. T.A. David tried negative ions in
relief of deep, post-operative pain. During an eight-month
test period they exposed 138 patients to negative ions on
the first and second days after surgery. Dr. Kornblueh announced
the results at a London congress of bioclimatologists: In
79 cases (57 per-cent of the total), negative ions eliminated
or drastically reduced pain.
- Experiments by Dr. Albert P. Krueger and
Dr. Richard F Smith at the University of California have
shown how ionization affects those sensitive to air-borne
allergens: Our bronchial tubes and trachea, or windpipe,
are lined with tiny hair 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 and found the ciliary beat was speeded
up to 12OO a minute and that mucus flow was increased. Doses
of positive ions produced the opposite effect: The ciliary
beat slowed to 6OO a minute or less and the flow of mucus
- Dr's Krueger and Smith also discovered
that cigarette smoke slows down the cilia, impairing their
ability to clear foreign, and possibly carcinogenic (cancer-inducing),
substances from the lungs. While positive ions worsened
this condition, negative ions were found to reverse the
effects of the smoke.
Jim Karnstedt on his web site states
that negative ions give a heightened state of awareness.
He has measured the ion counts in
various locations. Mr. Karnstedt says that 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. He
"Negative Ions promote alpha brain
waves and increase brain wave amplitude, which translates to
a higher awareness level."
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!
When working in areas of our industry
where we are exposed to air ionizers, are we better or worse off?
Based on the above information, I would vote for an improvement.
So I guess you could sy I am Positive on the health efects of
Let me know your thoughts and experiences.
We will post the results of any comments on this article as they