Health Related Information

Air Pollution

THE SINGAPORE SKYLINE WAS SHROUDED WITH HAZE


Picture Extracted on April 16th 1999 from The Straits Times.

POLLUTION IN THE AIR

Air pollution is principally the accumulation of components of carbon dioxide, sulpherous gas, lead, soot and dust particles. Nature has its own cleaning systems, as is exemplified by water. The air is cleansed by the rain, and during dry weather by air ions.

Modern industrialization with the rapid urban renewal, traffic congestions and a host of other factors contribute to air pollution, both indoors and outdoors. Unless there is some form of purification, people are breathing in harmful, polluted air.

WHAT IS AN ION

The smallest and most basic unit in nature is the molecule. It comprises several atoms, each having a nucleus ( made up of protons and electrons) and orbiting particles called electrons. External forces such as radiation and sunlight acting on molecules may cause an electron to leave one atom to join another. The 'receiving' molecule gets a negative electric charge in the process, and is now called a negative ion. The molecule that 'lost' the electron now has a positive charge, and is called a positive ion.

Nature consistantly generates such ions. Pure mountain air for instance, has over 4000 ions per cubic centimeter. Residential areas would have around 800 ions, and industrial areas around 80. Enclosed places such as offices and schools are usually depleted of ions. Air ions are important to both man and animals in many ways. They affect one's moods, performance and general health. Various leading scientists have proven the influence of both positive and negative air ions through extensive scientific researches.

POSITIVE EFFECTS OF NEGATIVE IONS

Scientist generally agree that whereas negative ions are beneficial to the recipient, positive ions, on the other hand, are rather harmful. Negative ions neutralize odors and contribute to fresh smell and clean air by conveying their negative charges to bacteria, dust smoke particles and other pollutants which will then be discharged harmlessly on to the ground instead of floating around. Today's air-conditioned buildings and vehicles are frequently supercharged with harmful positive ions because the air-conditioning mechanisms strip the air of negative ions. Thus negative ionizers are required to neutralize the danger of positive ionization of the air.