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The ionisation process

Extracts from the doctoral dissertation of Dr.-Ing. Klaus Gebhardt

The benefit of copper and silver for mankind

Metals have always played a decisive role in the development of human civilisation and this is reflected in the names given to historical ages the Iron Age and Bronze Age. Even in prehistoric times, smelting techniques capable of producing metals from naturally occurring ores had already been developed. Particularly undemanding was the smelting process used to obtain the so-called precious and semi-precious metals such as gold, silver and copper. Above all gold occurs in its solid form, that is, in its pure elementary form. Other metals, such as silver and copper, in contrast, also occur in the form of oxygen, sulphur and various other compounds. Oxygen-metal compounds are known as oxides. The most important metals from the technological viewpoint, such as iron, aluminium and copper, are mainly found in the form of iron oxide, copper oxide and aluminium oxide. In order to obtain the elementary metals, energy-intensive extraction processes are required: e.g. a blast furnace process for iron, the bauxite process to obtain aluminium from aluminium oxide and electrolysis for the recovery of pure copper. Despite the complex and expensive processes required, man has not been deterred, but on the contrary, spurred on to obtain these important metals in their pure forms.

Metal extraction and its effects on the human body

The extraction of metals as part of the human civilisation process not only lead to the development of ever more complex tools, constructions and other technological advancements, but also brought the human body into ever closer contact with metals.

At an early stage, people realised that metals could not only have a damaging effect on the biological functions of the human body, but also that certain metals had health-enhancing properties. The symptoms of poisoning caused by heavy metals like mercury, lead and chromium and their compounds have long been known. Due to exposure to heavy metals, prehistoric workers mining heavy metal ores and those processing lead and mercury ores by boiling exhibited severe toxic symptoms. Even at relatively young ages, they suffered loss of hair, premature loss of teeth, weakness of bones and poisoning of the liver. On the other hand, the positive effects of some of the precious and semiprecious metals were also discovered in early prehistory. The biological effects of copper, silver and gold are the subject of our current considerations. It is not just because of the rarity of the precious metals silver and gold that they have long been coveted and used for the production of jewellery. These metals also have a positive influence on the general wellbeing of humans. It took more than 3000 years, for example, before the physiological reasons for the stimulating, in some cases euphoretic effects of the metal gold were explained: gold stimulates the release of certain endogenous messenger substances, the socalled endorphins. Endorphins are a series of proteins with opioid effects that are synthesised in the human brain when the body is exposed to specific stimuli. The name endorphin is derived from the two words endogenous (literally: growing from within) and morphine. Silver on the other hand has been employed as a medicine since early times, particularly for internal use. It was widely prized as an oral medication, and had been used especially for the treatment of heart disorders. It was Paracelsus who established the use of silver in medicine. Although the Romans had already been aware of the antiseptic effects of silver, and had employed this property to keep water and other liquids potable by storing them in silver containers, the bacteriostatic effects of silver were only discovered in the late 19th century. Silver compounds, primarily silver nitrate (which also plays an important role as a chemical used in photography), have long been used in medicine. These compounds were applied topically to treat warts and, from the 17th century onwards, silver nitrate was used to prevent gonorrheal conjunctivitis in newborn infants, a major cause of neonatal mortality at the time. This culminated in a legal requirement for the prophylactic treatment of neonates with silver. The bacteriostatic (germicidal) effects of silver are also exploited for the purposes of processing and purifying drinking water. This is not only the case

down here on earth in drinking water recovery plants, but also up in orbit in space stations, where water is recycled using the Katadyn process. The Katadyn process (the name is derived from katadeynin, which means submerge) is a process for the sterilisation of water using thin silver plates or the abovementioned silver compounds. In the Electro-Katadyn process, water is sterilised by silver electrodes past which the water flows. The oligodynamic (Greek: oligos = few, dynamis = force) germicidal properties of silver are also employed in medicine, where silver threads are integrated in the materials used for wound dressings, particularly dressings used to cover burns. Here, the germicidal properties of the silver prevent the development of inflammation.

The germicidal effects of silver ions

On another level, silver threads integrated in material used for example to make socks inhibit the development of sweaty feet and athletes foot because fungi, as well as bacteria, are killed by silver ions. Alone the secretions released from the skin are sufficient to generate the minimum concentrations of silver at which a bactericidal effect can be observed. Underclothes made from such material are specially available for people with neurodermatitis to help prevent chronic itching and scratching. The mechanism responsible for the bactericidal properties of silver ions has not yet been investigated adequately. However, it is well known that silver has a high affinity for sulphur compounds (hence the tarnishing of silver cutlery and the bad taste that eggs have when eaten with a silver spoon), so that it seems obvious that silver ions react with the sulphide groups (SH groups, sulphur complexes) of protein molecules. Assuming this also occurs in the case of the proteins in simple bacteria, this would result in the paralysis of the respiratory processes of these single cell organisms. Concentrations of only 1 x 10-8 (molar), equivalent to a billionth of a gram per litre of water, are sufficient to develop a germicidal effect. Colloidal silver has traditionally been used as a remedy. Various processes can be used to produce a solution of silver in colloidal form. The widespread awareness of the bacteriostatic effects of colloidal silver largely disappeared with the discovery of antibiotics in the 1920s. It now appears that colloidal silver is facing a comeback, as the indiscriminate use of generations of novel antibiotics has led to a dramatic increase in the development of resistance of many microorganism strains. It is thus very important that we should not forget the oligodynamic germicidal properties of the metals.

The cytocidal effects of colloidal copper

In addition to silver, copper also exhibits a cytocidal effect. In the case of copper, which as a semi-precious metal does not have the same bactericidal potency as the nobler metal silver, it is its ability to prevent growth of algae that makes this metal so useful for water purification. Again, it was the Romans who lined their thermal baths with copper plates to ensure good quality bathing water. In recent years, the use of copper compounds, such as copper sulphate (copper vitriol) has been widely propagated. Copper compounds introduced directly into the water supply will remain in the whole pipeline system, bind with surface and piping materials and for the associated optical reasons (e.g. they can cause black staining of the walls of swimming pools and even react with human hair to turn it green) tend to be evaluated unfavourably. But such effects are the result of incorrect use of copper compounds. If copper is introduced into water at low concentrations by means of an electronically controlled Electro-Katadyn process, the additive oligodynamic effects of this copper will prevent growth of algae over the long term.

Ionisation as an opponent to chemicals

Contrary to the situation in Germany where the water guidelines prescribe other purification systems, bathing water is purified in some parts of Europe by means of an overwhelmingly superior process involving the release of controlled concentrations of silver and copper into the water. One leading proponent of this method of swimming pool disinfection is the community of St. Vith in Wallonia in Belgium. With the support of researchers from the University of Louvain, the local councillors of St. Vith have advocated the use of copper and silver ions to disinfect their public swimming pool for the past 20 years. St. Vith thus has one of only two pools in Belgium in which the water is purified completely without use of chlorine. The copper and silver ions are generated by an electrode electrolysis system. The silver ions provide the bacteriostatic effects required, while the copper inhibits algae growth and causes flocculation of the bacteria. The bacteria bound by the flocculation process can then be easily removed by a sand filter. The swimming pool operators and those visiting the pool are delighted with the excellent quality of the water.

The safe alternative to the chemical mace for water disinfection

It is thus apparent that a system not dissimilar to that used by grandmothers a hundred years ago, when a silver coin would be dropped into the milk container to keep it fresh, is now being used to sterilise drinking water in aircraft and space ships. The same traditional system, based on age-old practices developed to enhance the wellbeing of humans, is now available for the purification of water in the form of the technologically advanced and electronically controlled Necon water purification system. Necon, a company originally involved in the field of measurement and control technology and specialised in the automation of technical processes, is the competent partner for automated monitoring systems for the maintenance of water quality by means of automatic oligodynamic disinfection using copper and silver electrodes. This method of processing of drinking and bathing water not only has a considerable beneficial effect for health, but also helps protect the environment, as the Necon system can also be used for the processing of waste water from industrial plants and laundries (industrial-scale laundries, e.g. in hospitals), thus providing a water processing system that is environmentally-friendly, costeffective and economically viable that meets all the requirements of todays water consumers. The water purification system employing copper and silver developed and patented by Necon, can also be used to prepare colloidal silver solutions for use in the service of human health. These are both innovative and at the same time encompass traditional elements of medicine.

Long before the pharmaceutical industry had developed antibiotics, nature had provided man with the best and most powerful agent in the fight against viruses, harmful bacteria and fungi: colloidal silver. This can only be good news at a time in which we are exposed on all sides to horror scenarios of a bird flu pandemic!

We are at war but our enemy is invisible. Every day we live in fear that he could seize us, strike us down and then slowly kill us for his pleasure. It is of particular perfidy that our enemy will not fight in the open with weapons, but uses a Trojan horse strategy. He conceals himself in poultry meat, hovers around us in the air we breathe or even takes the form of the deadly aftermath of an affectionate encounter. This would appear to be the situation, at least if we are to believe the reports presented in the media. Fungi, bacteria and viruses are out to eliminate us and we, with our already compromised immune systems, are completely at the mercy of these treacherous assassins. Winner in this situation, is alone the pharmaceutical industry that thrives and earns billions with vaccination campaigns and then makes an extra couple of hundred million with the sale of antibiotics. And as we have now broached the subject of antibiotics what on earth would we do without them? Would we die in millions as in past eras, each of which had its own particular plague? In the 11th century, there was ergotism (caused by eating mildewed rye and associated with deformities, convulsions and St. Vitus dance), the 12th century had its epidemics of pox and smallpox, the 13th century was notorious for leprosy, while in the 14th century the Black Death struck, syphilis was rampant in the 15th century, dysentery in the 16th, tuberculosis in the 17th, typhus in the 18th, cholera in the 19th and what about the 20th century? Was it AIDS - or cancer - the rates of which have increased tenfold in the course of the 20th century? Today it is the viruses that appear to have got completely out of control. Ebola and Hanta have become words associated with horror, bird flu is seen as the new bogeyman and diseases like anthrax are considered to be so terrible that they are being touted as weapons for use by terrorists. In fact, in the hygienic, medically advanced USA on the threshold to the third millennium, infectious diseases represent the third most common cause of death!

A warrior against all killers!!

But our fears are in fact unjustified. Not because we have antibiotics - that is not the reason. After all, we should not forget that the all too frequent prescription of antibiotics has resulted in a situation in which more and more pathogens are becoming immune. In addition, each antibiotic is capable of eliminating perhaps 12 different pathogens, but considerably weakens the immune system in doing so.

No, our rescue has once again been provided by Mother Nature. As long as human beings have existed, there has been a remedy that is literally effective against all known germs, all harmful bacteria that colonise us, all viruses that attack us and can even put a halt to the insidious advance of the fungi: colloidal silver. Colloidal silver eliminates 650 different pathogens, at the latest within 6 minutes after administration. It does not attack a single bacterium that is essential for the maintenance of our physiological body functions, but only aggressive mutants. Colloidal silver not only has no side effects, but actually strengthens the immune system instead of weakening it as antibiotics do. Colloidal silver does not interact with other medications and does not cause gastric disorders: on the contrary, it promotes digestion. It does not cause a burning sensation on contact with the eyes. Reports in medical journals and studies documented over the last 100 years make no mention at all of any adverse side effects after oral or intravenous administration of silver colloids, either in humans or animals.

A look through the magnifying glass

What exactly is colloidal silver? Colloid particles are the smallest particles that a substance can be divided into while still retaining its original properties. The next stage down would be the atom itself. These particles are suspended in distilled water and carry an electrical charge. As particles with the same charge repel each other, they continue to remain in suspension. Colloids play an important role in nature. All the processes of life in a cell, the basic building block of living beings, are based on materials in colloidal state. Other examples of colloids are freshly pressed orange juice, detergents, filmcoatings, but also smoke or mist, write Werner Khni and Walter von Holst in their practical guide Kolloidales Silber als Medizin[Colloidal Silver as Medicine]. And dont lets forget blood and lymph, which are also colloidal substances. The reduction of materials to microscopically small particles results in an enormous increase in their total surface area and thus enhances their effects. Moreover, the ability of such particles to enter the body and reach remote sites is enormously improved. Of particular interest are the silver colloids, as the precious metal silver is the best natural conductor of electricity, the authors continue.

The tiny silver molecules invade single cell bacteria and block the activity of an enzyme responsible for the production of oxygen. The metabolism of the parasites is disrupted and they die. Experience shows that intact skin cells and the bacteria that promote healthy body functions are not affected during treatment with colloidal silver for which there is, as yet, no satisfactory explanation, according to Khni and von Host. Silver not only eliminates microorganisms hostile to life, but also stimulates the growth of healthy body tissue, as Dr. Robert O. Becker, author of the book The Body Electric and eminent bioresearcher at the University of Syracuse in the USA, discovered. He states silver provides extensive curative stimulation of skin and other soft tissue in a way quite different to all other physiological processes (). It particularly stimulates bone development and accelerates the process of healing of damaged tissue by more than 50%. Becker was astounded to discover that colloidal silver promotes a new form of cell growth similar to the process of cell formation in children. These cells grow rapidly and during this process produce an amazing collection of primitive cell forms that are capable of very rapid proliferation and differentiation into the specific cells of particular organs or damaged tissue, even in patients over the age of 50 years. Dr. Becker discovered that colloidal silver is also capable of converting cancer cells back into normal cells. Dr. Becker also sees a correlation between low silver levels and disease. On average, silver constitutes 0.001% of the human body. Becker claims that if the percentage of silver in the body falls below this level, a dysfunction of the immune system is the result. It would seem that silver plays an essential role in the basic processes of life.

The ancient Egyptians were already using silver for healing purposes!
The properties of silver were well known in the ancient world. It is possible that its first use in the historical era for medicinal purposes was in Egypt. It was used in medicines by the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, the Indians and Chinese. Paracelsus (1493 1541) used processed silver amalgams in detoxification baths, as silver is an excellent agent for eliminating mercury from the body. Hildegard von Bingen (1098 1179) considered that silver, seen in the light of

the ancient theory of the humours, was an excellent treatment for catarrh and cough. Konrad von Megenberg, a canon of Regensburg Cathedral and polymath of the 14th century, mentioned in his Book of Nature that silver as a powder, which when mixed with fine ointments doth help expel tenacious foulness from the body. He recommended it for the treatment of mange, bleeding haemorrhoids and weakness of the metabolism. Silver was held to be effective against demons and diseases. Aristocratic families stored their provisions in silver chests and ate and drank exclusively from silver platters and goblets. Excessive use of silver can lead to a slight bluish discoloration of the lips and mouth. It has been postulated that this is why it was assumed that the aristocracy had blue blood. Silver shavings, mixed with various plants and herbs, were believed to cure rabies, nosebleeds, dropsy and many other disorders. However, the preservative properties of silver were also well known: on their trail to the west, American settlers put silver dollars in their milk to keep it fresh without refrigeration. Some have claimed that it was because of their healing properties that silver and gold were chosen as the first monetary coins. Silver provided a safe means of keeping stored water fresh, assuming that this was protected from light and was not kept in metal containers. The medicinal qualities of silver in its colloidal form were discovered in the mid 19th century. Silver was extensively investigated by numerous researchers in the early 20th century and leading journals, including The Lancet, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the British Medical Journal published articles describing the amazing properties of colloidal silver. At the same time, the pharmaceutical companies were developing their antibiotics programmes, and because antibiotics, in contrast with silver, can be patented and sold for high prices, colloidal silver was gradually forgotten, despite the fact that it is superior to all chemical antibiotics.

Successfully treated disorders!

The authors of the book Kolloidales Silber als Medizin provide guidelines for the treatment of a wide range of different diseases. On being asked whether colloidal silver would also be effective against bird flu, Werner Khni gave a positive answer, although he added that there was, as yet, no concrete experience of its use against bird flu. However, he claimed that the related Parrot Fever (psittacosis) had been successfully treated with colloidal silver.

Colloidal silver can be taken orally and, in the case of skin disorders, be applied topically. It is also effective in animals: particularly good results have been achieved in the treatment of rabbit parvovirus infection and feline leukaemia. It makes an excellent pesticide for use in the garden: simply spray diluted colloidal silver onto the affected leaves and use it to water plants.

How it works!
Recent investigations of colloidal silver have given us some insight into how this wonderful and versatile substance protects us against the malicious invaders, in and on our bodies: It is postulated that colloidal silver kills viruses by forming silver complexes with DNA and/or RNA or by destroying the nucleic acids. It kills single cell organisms, plasmodia and fungi (including their spores) and attacks worms, possibly by means of inhibition of phosphate uptake and alteration of the permeability of the cell membrane. It inhibits the enzyme phosphomannose isomerase in yeasts. It suppresses histamine and prostaglandin release in allergic and inflammatory reactions. It buffers excessive reactions of the immune system and thus alleviates allergic and inflammatory manifestations. It has an astringent effect on the surfaces of open wounds and thus considerably accelerates the healing process. The skin remains elastic and there are fewer lesions at mechanically stressed sites. In the body it acts in the same way as a free radical and binds excess electrons; it thus promotes detoxification in heavy metal poisoning.

To sum up: colloidal silver kills pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa and fungi in vitro. There is no known bacterium that is not eliminated within 6 minutes of exposure to colloidal silver at a concentration of only 5 ppm/litre. According to Dr. Robert O. Becker, all pathogenic microorganisms that are resistant to antibiotics are killed by exposure to colloidal silver.


Trace element copper important for energy, blood, nerves and the immune system
Copper was once known as Cyprian metal. Bronze, a combination of copper and tin, has been known for millennia. Copper has many applications: for example in sugar production, in breweries, dairies, in pest prevention and in the production of artificial silk and rayon. In chemical terms, copper is a mono- to trivalent element and is essential for humans. Our bodies contain approximately 70 150 mg copper. Copper is mainly present in the bones, but is also found in muscles, the liver and the brain. Copper has long been used in medicine. In the 16th century, Paracelsus was the first to use copper - he claims successfully- in the treatment of mental disorders, epilepsy, hysteria and loss of reason. He also described curative effects in the treatment of pulmonary diseases and syphilis. Hahnemann, the father of homeopathy, subsequently built on Paracelsus experience and used copper vitriol to treat madness, hypochondria, epilepsy, hysteria and other disorders. Copper salts also have medical uses as emetics and disinfectants (e.g. eye and mouth rinses and dressings).

Copper has many important functions in the body!

Many of the essential enzymes contain copper. In addition, this element is involved in many physiological processes: it acts as an antioxidant, plays a role in blood formation and energy production, and influences the immune system and inflammatory processes. Copper has a wide range of functions in the body. It is found in numerous enzymes (of which 16 have been identified to date). One example is superoxide dismutase (SOD) that, among other things, protects the cell membrane from damage by free radicals and is thus an important antioxidant. Copper promotes electron transport and thus the process of energy synthesis. Copper is also needed for blood production, specifically for the synthesis of haemoglobin (red-coloured blood pigment). Copper is involved in iron metabolism and the formation of erythrocytes (red blood cells). Copper is present in coeruloplasmin which is required for the utilisation of iron; it catalyses the conversion of bivalent to trivalent iron. Microcytic anaemia can

thus develop in severe states of copper deficiency. Copper is also involved in the formation of collagen and elastin in the connective tissues. In addition, copper also plays a role in the synthesis of epinephrine and norepinephrine in the adrenal and nervous systems. Copper is also required for the formation of melanin in the skin. The element stimulates the immune system and inhibits inflammation.

The main sources of copper

Copper is present in foodstuffs, above all in offal, fish, shellfish, nuts, cocoa and certain green vegetables. Some herbs and spices, such as basil, oregano, nutmeg and pepper, are relatively rich in copper. Low concentrations of copper, on the other hand, are found in meat, milk and dairy products, tuber and root vegetables, sweets, pastries and pasta. A maximum of 50% (but usually less) of the copper taken up by the body is actually utilised. When intake increases, absorption decreases and the excess copper is excreted from the body. The permitted upper level for the concentration of copper in drinking water is 0.05 mg/litre.

The content of copper in 100 g of copper-rich foodstuffs

Chocolate: 12.5 mg Lobster: 6.7 mg Calfs liver: 3.5 5.5 mg Oysters: 3.6 mg Cocoa: 3 - 4 mg Ox liver: 2.1 3.5 mg Sunflower seeds: 2.8 mg Lentils, peas, kidney beans: 0.7 0.8 mg each


2 mg copper (average daily requirement) is present in

50 g nuts 75 g mussels 50 - 100 g liver 125 g wheat bran 150 g mushrooms 250 g whole grain rye bread 200 - 1000 g cheese

The daily copper requirement

Ensuring an adequate nutritional supply of copper is not seen as problematic. A healthy, balanced diet will provide an adequate daily intake. However, there are many reasons why a supplementary intake of copper may be necessary. A onesided diet and smoking can result in insufficient copper intake. It is currently estimated that the average copper requirement is approximately 2 mg daily. The Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Ernhrung e.V. [German Association for Nutrition], on the other hand, assumes that the daily requirement for adult men and women is somewhat lower, between 1 1.5 mg copper. The distinguished American orthomolecular physician Melvyn Werbach recommends a daily copper intake of 2 4 mg.

Does our daily diet cover our copper requirement?

Copper is not usually considered to be a critical trace element. A balanced, mixed diet generally provides sufficient copper. Offal and shellfish are particularly rich in copper, but these are not eaten very frequently. Most of our dietary copper comes from our intake of cereal, vegetables and meat. Copper is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and, if excessive copper is taken up by the body, it is excreted. The liver is the main organ in which copper is metabolised and it regulates the concentration of copper in the body. Uptake of copper can be inhibited by various substances, such as excessive vitamin C, calcium, molybdenum, zinc, sulphides and cadmium. Copper levels can be influenced by smoking and various disorders.

Groups that characteristically have an increased copper requirement

Infants that are fed solely with cows milk Persons with one-sided nutrition or malabsorption Persons exposed to marked oxidative stress, e.g. due to smoking Persons with gastrointestinal disorders (chronic diarrhoea, bowel inflammation) All patients with inflammatory disorders Persons with immune system disorders Persons with nephrotic syndrome (impairment of protein metabolism) Persons with cystic fibrosis Persons undergoing treatment with antacids (substances that bind gastric acids) or penicillin.

Deficiency or excess of copper in the body

Disorders associated with copper deficiency have been identified to date only in cases of extreme deficiency. Very many disorders for example, all forms of inflammation are accompanied by a deficiency of copper. In such cases, the intake of copper needs to be supplemented. As far as is known, no undesirable effects are associated with minor copper deficiencies; it is only when the deficiency is severe that symptoms of illness occur. Copper deficiency can be the result of extremely one-sided nutrition or malabsorption. The characteristic signs of copper deficiency are: loss of appetite, loss of bodyweight, abnormal pigmentation (of skin and hair), disturbance of the central nervous system, of the immune system functions and of growth; skeletal changes may also become apparent. In copper deficiency, the uptake of iron is also inhibited so that blood formation is impaired. It is postulated that copper deficiency can also exacerbate cardiovascular disease. As a rule, the copper levels in the body exhibit dynamic changes in response to all inflammatory processes. Low copper concentrations frequently accompany many disorders, such as cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, gastritis, constipation, heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), hypotension (low blood pressure),

arrhythmia, eczema, parodontitis and bronchitis. In some disorders, such as cystic fibrosis and nephrotic syndrome (impairment of protein metabolism), there is a marked copper deficiency. In addition, there are also specific, if rare, disorders directly related to problems of copper metabolism (Menkes syndrome, Wilsons disease). These involve impairment of copper uptake and progressive accumulation of copper in the body. In most cases of copper deficiency, it is possible to provide treatment to adjust copper levels. However, such treatment is not provided as frequently as it is required. Some diseases are associated with an excess of copper in the body: these include arthrosis, colitis, prostatitis and sinusitis.

Is copper overdose possible and are there side effects?

In general copper is tolerated well. The intake of up to 5 mg copper daily is considered to be perfectly safe. However, use of higher doses may be associated with side effects, such as nausea, intestinal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. These disappear when administration is discontinued. Harmful effects of copper have been recorded only in connection with occupational exposure.

Copper as a preventive but how much?

Copper is most commonly available in the form of sulphate salts, but the bioavailability of the organic compounds, such as gluconate, orotate and chelate, is better. Copper supplements should be taken between meals, at best in the form of small divided doses taken over the day. Copper should only be taken for preventive purposes in situations in which there is a known risk of deficiency. Supplementation of copper at doses up to the recommended daily intake will be sufficient in most circumstances. Suitable therapy is indicated whenever copper parameters deviate from normal levels, irrespective of whether the copper concentration is too high or too low. An exception to this is when elevation of copper levels is caused by using a particular medication. Copper therapy can be used in the treatment of all inflammatory disorders, rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatic

diseases. Copper is also an effective emetic. Even where copper is being given for therapeutic purposes, the doses are generally within the range of the recommended daily intake.

Water purification by Mother Nature

A swimming pool that is not regularly cared for can rapidly become uninviting. The walls become covered with algae and limescale deposits. Bacteria begin to proliferate. To date, chlorine has been routinely used to clean swimming pools, and users have had to put up with the unpleasant side effects of the substance, such as irritation of mucous membranes and an unpleasant odour. Dr.-Ing Klaus Gebhardt decided to take a completely different and innovative approach. He developed an electrophysical system for purification of water that was both environmentally-friendly and completely safe for humans and was associated with low set-up and maintenance costs.

100% chemical-free
The system consists of an advanced microprocessor-controlled electronic unit with patented electrodes made of copper and silver. The water passes through a special treatment cell in which the electrodes are located. A low, preciselycontrolled direct current activates the electrodes, resulting in the release of copper ions (Cu++) at 0.5 0.7 mg/l and silver ions (Ag+) at 1 10 ppb. Some of these ions are transported with the water flow into the swimming pool. The number of ions reaching the pool water is controlled by the microprocessor unit. Test devices developed by NECON are used to ensure that the required level of ions in the water is maintained. The innovative system also masters the problem of the development of limescale at the electrodes by means of the tried-andtested Self-Cleaning-System. The resultant pool water is perceptibly softer. Numerous studies have demonstrated the antibacterial effect: the system eliminates pathogens such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli, coliform and pseudomonas bacteria, pathogens that cause cholera and Legionnaires disease, and many other strains of bacteria and viruses that can be present in swimming pool water. The results of these studies show that when copper and silver ions are released into the water these surfactant cations (ions with a positive charge) become highly effective natural decontaminants.


It has also been demonstrated that the use of chemical disinfectants has resulted in the development of immunity by certain bacterial strains. In other words, the bacteria in question have adapted and changed because of exposure to the various chemical products and no longer react because they have become resistant to the strong chemical substances.

The electrophysical process

The water drawn from a well, a spring or the municipal water supply is first passed by a pump through a coarse filter. The water then passes through the treatment cell that contains the copper electrodes and from which copper ions are released into the water. Some of the copper ions react with hydroxyl ions and form the copper hydroxide that triggers the flocculation process. The water containing the flocculate now passes through a filter that retains these particles. The treated water that leaves the filter, free of all contaminants, then passes through the treatment cell containing the silver electrodes. The water, now loaded with copper and silver ions, is then transferred to a supply cistern, a direct supply point or to a swimming pool.

Flocculation and filtration

The standard flocculation process used for water purification involves the addition of mineral salts that are readily soluble in water; the metal ions of these salts trigger the flocculation process, but their anions alter the water balance (i.e. increase salt content, change of pH). This does not occur with the electrophysical process. The agent used for flocculation here are copper ions released into the water by electrolysis. No anions, such as nitrates, sulphates or chlorides, are added to the water and the balance of the water is not impaired. The flocculation process can be described as follows: A direct current is passed through the electrodes so that the anode releases copper ions. The size of the electrical current determines the rate of release of copper ions. The polarity is changed at regular intervals in order to ensure that there is an even wear of the electrodes and the formation of limescale on electrodes is prevented as far as possible. That quantity of copper ions that exceeds the water saturation point for copper reacts with hydroxyl ions produced at the cathode to form copper hydroxide

(Cu(OH)2). This substance is insoluble in water and is precipitated, whereby it binds to all the contaminants present in the water. Larger flocculates are formed and these are subsequently retained in a filter unit. The recommended filtration rate is approximately 35 m/hour per square metre surface area. The flocculated particles are not only retained on the surface of the filter medium, but also penetrate into the filter bed and gradually saturate the entire filter material. For this reason and to achieve an optimum filtration result, it is advisable to use as deep a filter bed as possible. Small filters do not adequately retain the flocculated particles, and these pass through the filter and escape into the pool water which then becomes turbid. A temporary improvement of filtration is achieved if a porous filter material is used, but this improvement is rapidly lost as the pores become choked with flocculate particles. The various parameters that control electrolysis, flocculation and filtration must be carefully selected to ensure the best possible overall efficiency, i.e. crystal clear water with the highest possible level of bacteriostatic effect. This can be achieved by means of a copper concentration that is appropriate to the quality of the raw water supply and the technical apparatus employed. The copper and silver ions that are dissolved in the water pass through the filter and develop their bactericidal effects in the processed water.

Disinfection capacity
The quantities of ions required to achieve an adequate bactericidal effect and to ensure that an optimum level of hygiene and purity of the water are maintained are very low (approximately 0.7 - 1 mg/l Cu++ and 1 - 10 ppb Ag+). At these concentrations, water retains its natural organoleptic characteristics: it has no perceptible odour or taste. In contrast with the standard methods used for water disinfection (in which e.g. chlorine, oxygen or bromium etc. are used) there are only very minor changes in the concentrations of metal ions in the water. Physical parameters, such as temperature and sunlight exposure, have no influence on concentration stability. The bactericidal capacity of copper and silver is not impaired even if there are traces of ammonia in the water.

It is thus not necessary to add further chemical stabilisers to water that is processed by this method, which is not the case when chlorine-based disinfectants (sodium hypochloride and hypochlorous acid) are used. When these agents are employed it is necessary to add a stabiliser, e.g. cyanuric acid or chlorinated isocyanurate, at relatively high concentrations (e.g. 50 200 ppm).

The bacteriostatic effects of the sand filter

The flocculation and filtration processes employed in the electrophysical method are not only methods used for clarification of drinking water, but they also have an important antibacterial effect. This effect is attributable to the copper and silver ions which are irreversibly absorbed by the surface of the filter medium. As the optimum concentration at the electrode outflow is 1.3 1.5 mg/l (dependent on to the above specified parameters), the duration of operation of the system required to maintain a copper concentration of 0.5 mg/l (again, dependent on water quality) can be calculated. In order to achieve a synergistic effect of copper and silver, a silver concentration of 1 10 g/litre is required. This concentration is maintained if the rate of release of silver is 10 mg/m3 water/24 hours.

The antibacterial effect

The disinfectant effect achieved with the copper/silver method is attributable to the electrostatic binding of cations to the microorganisms, whose cell walls carry a negative charge. This binding results in reduction of the permeability of the cell wall, so that the cells ability to take up substrates is considerably impaired. The ions subsequently invade the cells and destroy the amino acids required for photosynthesis. The consequence is that the cells die. When sufficient ions have bonded with cells to form natural flocculates, these are automatically trapped by the filter system.


Methods of measuring copper and silver ion concentrations

When copper and silver electrodes are used, it is also important to measure the ion concentrations in the pool to ensure that an optimum oligodynamic disinfection effect is achieved. There are several methods that can be used for this purpose. The most widely known, but at the same time the most complex, is laboratory spectroscopy. Very precise test kits that use, for example, a photometric method, have recently become commercially available. In this technique, a dye substance is added to the test water using an indicator and an accurate result is shown on a digital display. Although ion levels can be determined using colour comparison charts or cuvettes, results can be subject to considerable variation. NECON has developed a tried-and-tested system for online analysis using an ion-selective measurement technique. The advantage of this system is that due to the continuous measurement by means of electrodes (reference electrode and ion-selective electrode) with simultaneous automatic evaluation of results and adjustment, the ion concentrations can be maintained at a constant level. The values are shown on a digital display. This is equivalent to the systems used to measure and control levels of chemicals, but with the great advantages that no chemicals are added to the water and no storage of these chemicals is necessary.

Wide range of applications

NECON water processing systems can be used for private swimming pools and whirlpools and for the processing of the water supply and drinking water for use in spa baths, hotel amenities and public swimming pools. The technique is also used in water cisterns, waste water processing units, car washes, laundries and water cooling systems.

Minimal maintenance
One major advantage of the ionisation technique is that minimal maintenance is required. Until sufficient flocculates have been formed and captured and all ions

have done their work, the ions remain in the water and provide additional protection. The ions in the water continue to have algicidal and bactericidal effects even when the processing unit is switched off. This depot effect can persist for up to several months. No maintenance of the pool is required in this period, and this can be particularly advantageous in situations in which the pool is closed for winter. The polarity of the electrodes is continuously switched to ensure that there is even depletion. An increased electrode lifetime of several years can be achieved. NECON provides a 2-year guarantee on all its products (apart from consumable electrodes).

Complete systems
For ease of installation, we recommend our complete system. This needs only to be connected to the inflow and outflow of the pool (by means of two-way ball valves) and all the fun of bathing in fresh, sparkling water can commence! The bothersome adjustment of water pH is no longer required, as pH (the DIN standard requires that drinking water should have a pH of 6.5 9.5) has no effect on the activity of the ions. The system is perfect for installation both in new swimming pools and for the updating and upgrading of already existing pools. The complete system is supplied on a galvanised, plastic-coated, adjustable platform, with all piping connections already in place. The electronic control system needs only to be plugged into a power supply. Further optional extras, such as an automatic backwash, heat exchanger and circulation pump and water level monitoring systems (e.g. for spillover pools) can be readily fitted or come ready installed in the delivered unit. NECON can also supply filtration material (for technical reasons, this is supplied in 15 kg sacks) with the ordered system.

Satisfied customers worldwide

NECON GmbH, based in Freiburg, Germany, can already look back on a long series of successful international projects. Large-scale amenities in the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Cyprus, Corsica, the Balearic Islands, Mexico,

Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, the Ukraine, China, Taiwan, India, the Arabic states and numerous pools in Germany have been fitted with this new technology. The water for the diving pool (3000 m3) and the competition pool (2500 m3) in the National Sports Training Centre in Kaohsiung in Taiwan has been processed by the NECON system since 2003. The innovative NECON ionisation technique was selected in an international competitive tender and after complex negotiations for use in the pool (3000 m3) at the Goudi Olympic Swimming Centre near Athens, which was the location for the pentathlon swimming events. The market prospects for the 100% chemical-free water processing systems produced by NECON are excellent. Customers from the Eastern European, Asiatic and Arabic countries have shown considerable interest in this innovative system at trade fairs. NECON works to very high quality standards. CE and ISO 9001 certification provide our customers with the assurance that our 100% chemical-free systems offer optimum reliability. The locations of our distributor outlets ensures that replacement parts can always be readily obtained. Short delivery times and efficient order processing by our qualified personnel at NECON are further advantages for our clients. We can provide guarantees of compliance of our individual systems with all international standards. NECON also provides in-house and on-site training of personnel to ensure that our specialist staff can provide end customers with the best possible advice.


Discoloration of pool liner membranes

Under certain circumstances, copper ions can be deposited on the surface of pool liners resulting in discolorations. Possible causes are:

1. Residual lubricants on the surface of the liner material

Lubricants (waxes) are used in the production of swimming pool liner membranes. In most cases, any residue will be automatically removed when chemical disinfectants are added to the pool. This is not the case when the ionisation method (using positively charged ions) is used, as no chemicals are employed. It must thus be ensured that the liner material is first thoroughly cleaned with an acidic cleaning agent before filling the pool. If this simple precaution is followed, no problems will occur when the NECON system is used.

2. Black discoloration on parts of the liner and along welds

This problem is attributable to the black mold fungus (Aspergillus niger), which frequently also develops on the silicon grouting in shower cubicles. The explanation is as follows: the swimming pool membrane is water vapour permeable. This means that moisture collects under the membrane and, depending on the nature of the backing material, the growth of this mold is promoted. Manufacturers offer special underlining materials (protective fleece) containing fungicides or materials interwoven with silver threads. These are not required if a chemical water processing technique is employed as chlorine atoms can also penetrate into these areas. However, metal ions are too large to reach these lower layers and prevent the mold developing. The mould then germinates under the liner and frequently appears at weak points of the liner (at weld joins, for example). The discoloration can be removed by washing the affected sites with a chlorinebased cleaning agent. In most cases, it will first be necessary to drain the pool.


3. Unattractive scum line

In most surface skimming open-air pools, a scum line along the pool walls develops at the water surface level. This originates from airborne environmental pollutants (soot, plant pollen etc.) but also from bound copper ions. This scum line needs to be cleaned at regular intervals. Any of the widely available 25% hydrochloric acid solutions (follow the safety instructions of the manufacturer!) can be used for this purpose. Depending on the ion concentration in the water, ions may also be precipitated to form surface discolorations, but these can also be readily removed with an acid solution. Discolorations of this kind represent a surface problem only, as the ions are not able to penetrate the pool liner or other plastic elements.

4. Overall discoloration
Overall discoloration can develop on the pool liner if the liner material reacts with substances present in the water supply or with salts added to the water. When chemicals are used, there is little risk of discoloration in the pool area because halogens are very aggressive and reactive (the term redox potential is thus used in connection with chemical disinfection). However, these chemicals require stabilisers, such as sodium hypochloride, hypochloric acid, cyanuric acid or isocynaurates at relatively high concentrations(50 200 ppm according to the DIN standard). Many reactions involving chlorine result in the formation of hydrochloric acid, which can cause chemical burns. The hydrochloric acid formed (or hydrogen bromide or hydrogen iodide) reacts with all inorganic and organic alkalines, and can lead to chemical burns or, in less serious situations, to irritation of the mucous membranes, reddening of the eyes or allergic reactions, which is a considerable disadvantage for bathing. If an alternative water processing system, such as that offered by NECON, is used, there is no redox potential. For this reason, it is important that the pool technician makes sure that the correct type of pool liner is used. In this case, the pool constructor should contact the liner manufacturer. An analysis of the water to be used will show whether there is any risk of discoloration of the liner. There are pool liner manufacturers who are aware of this potential problem and have already developed methods to avoid it.

Table of recommended filters for NECON systems

System Pool capacity in in m 0-40 (private indoor pool) 40-60 (private indoor pool) 60-80 (private indoor pool) 80-100 (private indoor pool) 100-160 (private indoor pool) 160-200 (private indoor pool) 200-300 (private indoor pool) 300-400 (public pool) Filter depth in mm 1680 Filter sand layer in in mm 1000 Sand in kg 250 Filter diameter in mm 500 (Sand granulation (Sand 0.7- 1.2 mm) granulation 0.2 Lower support layer in 0.7 mm) kg Filter layer 50 200

NEC1000.1/ 7000.1 NEC1000.2/ 7000.2 NEC1000.2/ 7000.2 NEC1000.3/ 7000.3 NEC1000.4/ 7000.4 NEC1000.4/ 7000.4 NEC1000.5/ 7000.5 2 NEC1000.5/ 7000.5 or NEC8000.4 NEC8000.4 NEC8000.5



















2000 2000

1200 1200

750 750

800 800

75 75

675 675

2X 2000 3-4 2000











400-500 (public pool) 500-600 (public pool)

4-5 X 2000 3X 2120 injector filter

1200 1200

750 1500

800 1000

75 200

675 1300



Pool capacity in in m 600-800 (public pool) 800-1000 (public pool) 1000-1200 (public pool) 1200-1500 (public pool) 1500- 2000 (public pool) 2000- 2500 (public pool) 2500- 3000 (public pool)

Filter depth in mm 3-4 X 2120 injector filter 4X 2790 injector filter 4- 5 X 2790 injector filter 5- 6 X 2790 injector filter 3X 2000 injector filter 3- 4 X 2000 injector filter 4- 5 X 2000 injector filter

NEC8000.8 NEC8000.10 NEC8000.10 NEC8000.10 NEC8001.8 NEC8001.8 NEC8001.10

Filter sand layer in in mm 1200

Sand in kg 1500

Filter diameter in mm 1000

(Sand granulation (Sand 0.7- 1.2 mm) granulation 0.2 Lower support layer in 0.7 mm) kg Filter layer 200 1300
































With heat exchanger

Without heat exchanger

To pool from heat exchanger Filter diameter

To pool


From pool

To waste drain