Welcome to Tech Thursday, the column with the purpose of discovering new high-tech products and developing technology created to help make everyone’s lives convenient, cool, or all of the above!
You remember how every cool and groovy person back in the day had a lava lamp in their home? They were a psychedelic novelty item that were sure to catch the attention of anyone passing them by and improve the mood of the room. I myself am guilty of owning one of these (hand-me-down from my dad) and still use it in my room.
Well, the Himalayan salt lamp can be considered the present, “future” version of the trendy lava lamp in that it not only looks cool, but allegedly also possesses life-improving qualities and promotes good health.
What is it?: Himalayan salt lamp.
What does it do?: Provides ambient lighting.
How do you use it?: Simply plug in and turn on.
How is it convenient?: Claims to improve health conditions.
Overall feedback: Mixed.
Recommended?: Unsure / Your personal preference.
Cost?: $20 – $110.
The lamps are made from crystalized Himalayan salt rock, hollowed out to allow a heated light bulb to illuminate the crystal. Depending on the makeup of the salt, they can vary in color and can glow white, pink, or orange.
The producers of the lamps claim that the pink Himalayan salt has purities within it that produce negative ions and attract allergens and toxins in the air. The science behind negative ions is that they help counteract “electrosmog,” or the positive ions that electronic devices like cell phones, computers and household appliances produce through their electronic radiation.
The positive ions in electrosmog are what makes people feel drowsy or mentally worn out during the day, and the negative ions from the salt lamps balance things out.
Another claim is that the lamps improve indoor air quality because the salt attracts water vapor in the air that might carry pollutants and allergens, and collect on the surface of the rock salt. The heat from the lamp is supposed to evaporate the water vapor back into the air while trapping the pollutants. Then you just wipe the lamp down with a rag from time to time.
Wanting to know more about the science behind all of these traits, I did some quick research to see if these claims held true and the salt lamps do work … I returned with multiple health articles stating all of this was false.
Some articles stated that tests revealed the lamps give off no negative ion radiation whatsoever, and the ones that were able to detect it said there was so little amount given off it wouldn’t have made a difference in the first place. As for the air-improving qualities, that too was also debunked; even if some particles were to stick to the surface of the lamp, there’s nothing in the chemical compound of salt to actually trap them in place. And without any true ionization, the lamps do not actively attract pollutants either.
Despite all these false health advertisements, the lamps on their own are beautifully crafted and give off a nice glow when turned on. The intensity of the light is a little more than a nightlight while not as bright as an actual lamp, so it makes for good mood lighting; much like a lava lamp in its heydays.
I certainly wouldn’t buy one to improve my health, but having one around the house would be nice to have on aesthetics alone. I think this is all they really needed to advertise; sometimes adding too many features (especially false ones) can ruin a good thing.
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