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Atmospheric environment, 41: Pages 5224-5235

The effects of electric fields on charged molecules and particles in individual microenvironments

Jueves 2 de agosto de 2007 · 1774 lecturas

Atmospheric environment, 41: Pages 5224-5235

The effects of electric fields on charged molecules and particles in individual microenvironments

K.S. Jamiesona, , , H.M. ApSimona, S.S. Jamiesona, J.N.B. Bella and M.G. Yostb
aCentre for Environmental Policy, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
bDepartment of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Box 357234, Seattle, WA 98040, USA
Received 21 February 2006; revised 13 November 2006; accepted 5 February 2007. Available online 28 March 2007.

Abstract

Measurements of small air ion concentrations, electrostatic potential and AC electric field strengths were taken in an office setting to investigate the link between electric fields and charged molecule and particle concentrations in individual microenvironments. The results obtained indicate that the electromagnetic environments individuals can be exposed to whilst indoors can often bear little resemblance to those experienced outdoors in nature, and that many individuals may spend large periods of their time in “Faraday cage”-like conditions exposed to inappropriate levels and types of electric fields that can reduce localised concentrations of biologically essential and microbiocidal small air ions. Such conditions may escalate their risk of infection from airborne contaminants, including microbes, whilst increasing localised surface contamination. The degree of “electro-pollution” that individuals are exposed to was shown to be influenced by the type of microenvironment they occupy, with it being possible for very different types of microenvironment to exist within the same room.

It is suggested that adopting suitable electromagnetic hygiene/productivity guidelines that seek to replicate the beneficial effects created by natural environments may greatly mitigate such problems.

Keywords: Air ions; Electric fields; Microbes; Charged ultrafine particles

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