Negative Ion Technology – UPSC Prelims

What are Negative Ions?
  • An ion is an atom, or a molecule, which has gained or lost one or more electrons.
  • Negative ions are made when sunlight, radiation, air, or water break down oxygen.
  • It is believed that negative ions create positive vibes and uplift the mood. These ions also have an impact on pollutants by making them negatively charged and get them collected on surfaces.
What is Negative Ion Technology?
  • Negative ion technology embeds negative ions in personal products and is currently being advertised as a means to maintain health, balance energy, and improve well-being.
  • This technology is used in certain silicone wristbands, quantum or scalar-energy pendants, sleep masks, jewellery among others.
  • The minerals that produce these negative ions often include naturally occurring radioactive substances such as uranium and thorium.
What are the concerns related to Negative Ion Technology?
  • The radiation detected in some of these Negative Ion Technology products has been higher than the background level, and in some cases high enough to require licensing.
  • These products were found to contain radioactive materials and therefore continuously emit ionizing radiation. Exposure to ionizing radiation can cause adverse health effects, and wearing the products for extended periods could pose health risks that include tissue and DNA damage.
What are the steps being taken against these consumer products containing radioactive substances?
  • IAEA has released the “Radiation Protection and Safety of radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards” in 2014.
  • These standards says that the frivolous use of radiation or radioactive substances in toys and personal jewellery or adornments, which result in an increase in activity, is unjustified.
  • In India, the Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004 also contains provisions consistent with those of the IAEA.

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