Negative-Ions and Computers
Alaska Science Forum
September 25, 1981
by T. Neil Davis
This article 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 with the Institute.
Evidence seems to be mounting that ion concentrations in the air do affect
how people feel. Further, there is evidence that the new trend toward using
computerized equipment in offices may be creating a special problem.
Outdoor air contains about a thousand positive and negative charges (ions)
within each cubic centimeter. Cosmic rays coming into the earth from the sun
and elsewhere break apart air molecules and thereby create much of the
ionization that exists in the air. Since more cosmic rays come in at the
high latitudes, the high-latitude air normally has a higher proportion of
ionized air molecules or molecular clusters. However, in cities and in
confined spaces such as offices, processes take place to reduce the number
of ions. One important process is attachment of charge-carrying molecular
clusters to pollution particles in the air. When that happens both the ions
and the pollution particles tend to be swept out of the air by the electric
field that exists naturally near the earth's surface.
The loss of ion concentration is thought to be harmful because it does seem
that high ion concentrations do make people feel better, just why, doesn't
seem to be clearly understood. High ion concentrations also apparently
inhibit bacterial growth and perhaps foster plant growth. The good effects
seem to be attributed to high concentrations of negative ions rather than
positive ones; generally, the concentration of both types go together,
except in small volumes of air perhaps only a few feet across.
Now, a new problem arises according to an article in the August 1981 issue
of Mini-Micro Systems, a publication for computer buffs. The problem has to
do with CRTs, the cathode ray tubes contained in video terminals and the
newfangled typing stations that seem to be sprouting on desktops all over
the country. In the Geophysical Institute alone I counted 70 CRTs, not
including cathode ray tubes in test equipment.
The electric field caused by the positive static charge that appears on a
CRT in normal operation sweeps the nearby air of negative charges, thereby
depleting the negative-ion concentration in the immediate vicinity.
Apparently when the ion concentration is lowered by this or any other
means--air conditioning does it too--workers complain of headaches,
lethargy, dizziness and nausea.
One experiment performed in England on 54 individuals at a computer site
seems rather convincing. Negative-ion generators were installed, but,
unknown to the persons being tested, the generators were not turned on for
four weeks. During that period the negative-ion concentration was about 550
per cubic cm. A secret switching on the generators during the next eight
weeks of the test raised the ion concentration to 3,500 per cubic cm,
several times that found in normal outside air. After the experimenters
turned on the ion generators, they found that the tested persons had fewer
headaches and other complaints than before. Only five percent then said they
had headaches, whereas 20 percent of the workers complained of headaches
before the ion generators were turned on. The number reporting dizziness and
nausea dropped by more than half, down to less than one percent.
Other English tests indicate that the more complex the task a person tries,
the more the individual is affected by negative-ion levels. Also females are
more responsive than males to negative-ion depletion or enrichment.
Fraudulent or questionable claims made some years ago about the benefits of
ion generators muddy the issue of how important ion concentrations are in
air around workers. Consequently, there now probably will have to be
overwhelming evidence that ion levels do affect people before widespread
attempts are made to ensure that proper levels are maintained. But if that
comes to pass, we may see regulations requiring installation of ion
generators in rooms where air conditioning and CRTs are used.
Ionizers Wipe Out Hospital Infections
18:02 03 January 2003 by Natasha McDowell
Repeated airborne infections of the bacteria acinetobacter in an intensive
care ward have been eliminated by the installation of a negative air ionizer.
In the first such epidemiological study, researchers found that the
infection rate fell to zero during the year long trial. "We were absolutely
astounded to find such clear cut results," engineer Clive Begg at the
University of Leeds, UK, told New Scientist.
Stephen Dean, a consultant at the St James's Hospital in Leeds where the
trial took place says: "The results have been fantastic - so much so that we
have asked the university to leave the ionizers with us."
The ionizers produce negative air ions that collide with suspended particles
and give them a charge. The scientists believe charged particles aggregate
together and fall out of the air, thereby disinfecting the atmosphere and
stopping the transmission of infection.
"We don't fully understand how it is working, but we suspect it is damaging
or killing the bacteria," says Beggs. "But if the ionizers are cleaning the
air in this way, we would expect to find more precipitation of acinetobacter
on surfaces and this is exactly what we found."
Acinetobacter infections are often very difficult to treat as the bacterium
is resistant to many antibiotics. It poses no real threat to healthy humans
but can cause serious infections in people with weakened immune systems.
"Ionisers may become a powerful weapon in the fight against hospital
acquired infection," says clinical microbiologist Kevin Kerr, another team
member. "People had focused on getting doctors and nurses to wash their
hands and had not looked at anything else."
About 10 per cent of infections in the UK's public hospitals have been
estimated to be airborne, but Kerr says it may be even higher, as
conventional methods to sample airborne bacteria are inefficient.
But although the results are very promising, he adds that further research
is needed because acinetobacter infections tend to be cyclical. "They may
not be seen for weeks or months and then you see a cluster of infections,"
The team is currently doing more lab studies to see if other organisms may
be targeted. Tuberculosis is one promising target.
Brian Duerden, director of the UK's Public Health Laboratory Service, is
encouraged by the results. "It is not the whole answer as many infections
are spread by touch, but it is a potential addition to the weaponry against
hospital infections," he told New Scientist.
Research by electronics company Sharp has shown that positive and negative
ions produced by their air conditioning systems can inactivate viruses
including influenza. But the new study is the first to link such an effect
to reduced infections in hospitals.
Treatment of Seasonal Affective
a High-Output Negative Ionizer
Terman M, Terman JS.
Department of Psychiatry,
Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
J Altern Complement Med 1995 Jan;1(1):87-92
This study was designed to evaluate the antidepressant effect of negative
ions in the ambient air 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, 1
x 10(4) ions/cm3 or 2.7 x 10(6) ions/cm3, 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
impressions. When a remission criterion of 50% or greater reduction in
symptom frequency/severity was used, 58% of subjects responded to
high-density treatment while 15% responded to low-density treatment (chi 2 =
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
Negative Ions Are Beneficial
To Human Body In Four Major Ways:
Reprinted from "Economy Daily News" - January 30, 2002
Strengthen the functions of autonomic nerves
Reinforces collagen (tissues that are resilient and tension-related)
Improves the permeability of the cell's prototype plasma membranes (improves
Strengthens the body's immune system
Regeneration For Youthfulness and Longevity
by John Heinerman, Ph.D
Negative ions neutralize pollutants and provide positive effects on health
to stimulate the reticulo-endothelial system, a group of defense cells in our
bodies that marshal our resistance to disease.
Act on our capacity to absorb and utilize oxygen. Negative ions in the
bloodstream accelerate the delivery of oxygen to our cells and tissues.
Speed up oxidation of seratonin (5-hydroxtryptamine) in the blood. This is
well known to have far reaching effects on mood, pain relief and sexual
Studies Proving the Effectiveness of Negative Ions
Ions Help Prevent Respiratory-Related Illnesses.
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).
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).
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).
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,
Ions For A Positive Attitude
Positive ions, which are found in abundance in most indoor environments,
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).
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).
Reduced Airborne Salmonella - 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).
The U.S.D.A. also performed another study to test the effectiveness of
negative ionization at removing airborne Salmonella Enteritidis. The
negative ions drastically reduced the airborne salmonella particles,
prompting the following statement from the USDA:
"These results indicate that negative air ionization can have a significant
impact on the airborne microbial load in a poultry house and at least a
portion of this effect is through direct killing of the organisms."
Good Housekeeping Magazine
Ionizer Smoke Test
In March of 1999, Good Housekeeping Magazine had its engineers test an
ionizer by using a smoke test, and found that it cleared out the smoke in a
tank. Watch the video
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.
Ionization Reduces Bacteria in Surgery Units - 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.
A 1976 study featured in this publication provided evidence that negative
ions can have a biologically lethal effect on airborne microorganisms.
Journal of Hygiene
A 1979 study found that using negative ionization in the air protected
chickens from airborne infection of the deadly Newcastle Disease Virus.
Journal of Food Protection
A 2001 study found that airborne negative ionization was highly effective at
destroying airborne and surface salmonella.
University of Medicine and Pharmacy (Romania)
A test on male rats showed that just moderate levels of negative ions
increased the resistance of the rats, reducing or eliminating the effect of
(Summary of Study)
Effect of Negative Ions on Drivers
- Toyota Central R & D Labs
A study by Toyota Central R & D Labs, Inc. found that negative ions can
improve fatigue and cognition of drivers. (Copy of study - PDF File
Negative Charged Ions are Effective in Treating Cancer
(Cited from High-Voltage Treatment published by Youth Publishing)
In 1950, Dr. Haskell applied Negatively Charged Ions to patients of
Hypertension. Amazingly, Negative Ions were proven to have a positive effect
in lowering one's blood pressure, while no beneficial effects were observed
with Positive Ions. Negative Ions are also effective against influenza,
asthma and especially bronchial disease. Another study done by the
University of Frankfurt involved a "Cancer Team" in order to further study
the physical effects of Negative Ions to cancer cells. Different types of
cancer cells were transfused into the bodies of mice. In order to have a
base of comparison, one group of mice were put into a negative ion
environment each day while the other group remained untouched. As a result,
the mice in the negative ion environment lived, on average, for 59 days,
while the mice that were untreated lived no longer than 34 days. The mice
from the experimental team lived 25 days longer; some even lived as long as
80 days! The experiment's result confirm the effectiveness of Negative Ions
in treating cancer.
"Negative Air Ions Stimulate Mitochondria" Institute of Theoretical and
Experimental Biophysics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, Moscow
Other Negative Ion Benefits
Asthma, Allergies, and other Respiratory Problems and Illnesses. Many
scientific studies have been conducted over the years (mostly in Europe and
Russia) showing how exposure to high levels of negative ions drastically or
significantly reduce asthma and allergy symptoms, as well as
respiratory-related illness. Studies have also shown a link between negative ion treatment and benefits
for the following:
Inhaling negative ions regulates the production of serotonin inside the
brain. The overproduction of serotonin inside the brain is the cause of
A study at Columbia University suggested that negative ion treatment is more
effective than anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac and Zolof, and there are
no side effects with negative ions.
The overproduction of serotonin (chemical produced inside the brain) also
causes fatigue, and negative ions regulate the production of serotonin
inside the brain.
A study in France found that negative ionizers helped people to sleep
better, by regulating the production of the chemical serotonin in the brain.
Mental Performance and Concentration
Several tests have shown people exposed to negative ion treatment perform
much better in mentally-oriented activities than those who are not.
Due to test results performed by Russian scientists, negative ionizers were
always installed in the locker rooms and resting places for the Russian
Studies performed in one hospital found that burn patients were far more
likely to recover more quickly and thoroughly.
Other Negative Ion Studies:
"Health Tips: Healthy Breathing & Negative Ions": Monumental Message
"Negative Ions and Computers": Alaska Science Forum
"Air Ionizers wipe out hospital infections": New Scientist
"Treatment of seasonal affective disorder with a high-output negative
ionizer": The Good Drug Guide
"Negative ions explained in layman's terms": Chemtrail web site
Advanced research on Ions: by Scientist Guy Cramer; Project Air
Penn State University Graduate School of Architectural Engineering & Dept.
"Negative Air Ions Stimulate Mitochondria" Institute of Theoretical and
Experimental Biophysics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, Moscow
Health Benefits of Negative Ions
Advance PureAir Air Shield
Wein Personal Air Purifier
Sani-Mate AS250B Washroom Sterilizer/Deodorizer Air Ionizer
Wein VI-2500 High Density
Negative Ionizer Air Purifier
Wein Auto Mate Car Air Filter
3800 Air Purifier
3800 Air Purifier
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