After moving into our tiny dorm, my roommate (like most freshman) had too much stuff and not enough space. She had to decide what was important enough to stay and what would have to go back home. I saw a large, glowing, orange/yellow rock taking up a large portion of her desk and recommended she gave that the boot. I immediately regretted my suggestion when she turned around with a look of disgust on her face. “It’s not a rock, it’s a salt lamp and you’ll thank me later when our room is clean and you don’t get sick” I was very skeptical, until about a month later. The bulb in the lamp died. For a few days nothing changed but slowly we noticed dust collecting in our room, and both of us developed small colds. Was it a coincidence, simply ironic timing, or was the salt lamp keeping us healthy?
The claim is that these lamps emit negative ions into the air and air with more negative ions is what causes the benefits. They say that these salt lamps can increase energy, neutralize electromagnetic radiation, better sleep, improve mood and concentration, treat Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD), and reduce static electricity in the air. It’s true, an increase in negative ions in the air would cause all of these benefits, but salt lamps produce barely any. A study showed the negative ions produced by salt lamps were almost too small to measure. Therefore, the salt lamps can’t cause any of these benefits.
Although they don’t produce negative ions it has been proven that salt lamps do help clean the air. Water vapor constantly floats around the air and carries dust, pollen, and other microscopic compounds with it. The lamp attracts water in the air, along with the pollutants. Once attracted the compounds stay on the lamp rather than floating in the air.
It would be beneficial for my roommate and I to conduct a well thought out study to support/contradict the other studies I found. We would take a notebook and write down how we were feeling (stuffy nose, sore throat, etc.), the cleanliness of our room and quality of air (dusty/clean), how we slept, and our overall mood. We could do this for two weeks with the salt lamp and two weeks without and repeat several times. If we wanted to have a larger size study we could have some of our friends get salt lamps and do the same thing.