Scientists discover that humans produce an invisible aura of air-purifying molecules

Scientists discover that humans produce an invisible aura of air-purifying molecules

Scientists discover that humans produce an invisible aura of air-purifying molecules

Light around the hands - Alamy

Light around the hands – Alamy

Scientists have found that humans have an invisible aura around our bodies that could clean the air we breathe.

A study has shown, for the first time, that an invisible mist of air-purifying molecules is produced on human bodies when the ozone in the air reacts with the oil produced by our skin.

Short-lived molecules called OH radicals make up the aura and are known to neutralize toxic molecules when they are produced by sunlight outside, earning them the nickname “cleaners of the atmosphere”.

But the discovery of the aura, technically known as the oxidation field, around people shows for the first time that OH radicals are also produced by human bodies.

However, experts don’t know whether the field is a positive or negative force because the impact of the aura remains unknown.

The compound could “become toxic”

“[The field] it could clear the air before it inhales, but we don’t know, “Professor Jonathan Williams, of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, and lead author of the study, told The Telegraph.

He said: “The other possibility, which is more troubling, is perhaps that a compound considered harmless could become more toxic than its precursor when oxidized in the OH field. Now that we have discovered this, more research is needed.”

Professor Williams and his team placed four people in a sterile room with oxygen masks and measured the level of OH radicals in the air. They then added ozone to the room and saw a dramatic spike in the level of the chemicals and created images from the data showing the oxidation fields.

The chemical template, said prof. Williams, somehow recalls the glow of green radiation around a nuclear waste barrel in a cartoon.

Closer analysis revealed that squalene, a chemical that keeps the skin supple, reacts with ozone and produces the OH oxidation field through a sequence of complicated chemical reactions.

“When I inhale there is a chemistry going on, which is changing the emissions from the sofa I’m sitting on into other compounds,” said the prof. Williams.

“We simply don’t know if those compounds are more or less harmful than the sofa emissions themselves.

“There is an immediate implication for health [to this research]. We need to study them rather than measure what a sofa emits. We need to measure what a sofa and a person do together as the interaction of emissions with our field is more important. “

Another training mechanism

It was previously thought that OH chemicals for cleaning air only form outside in sunlight, but the new discovery shows another mechanism for their formation.

“Radicals are extremely ephemeral and created in the air by the sun’s rays,” said prof. Williams.

“Then they react like kamikaze pilots and immediately attack any compound around them. They are like snarling lions, hideous beasts who just want to rip a hydrogen atom out of anything else to turn into water and become stable.

“We should fit statues to this radical,” he said. “In every city there should be a monument to the radical OH because it prevents us from poisoning ourselves every day.”

The findings are detailed in the journal Science, and the team is now looking to see if similar auras exist around other animals, particularly dogs.

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