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NASA-designed air purifier now available for home use

It’s one of those cases of a technology created to solve one problem turning out to be really good at solving another one. NASA created a device to remove ethylene from the air of the space station back in the nineties. The device worked very well, and its air purification technology is now used in the food industry and in the flower industry: removal of ethylene from the air slows the ripening and spoilage of foods and plants.

Then they discovered that the same technology, called Airocide, was 100 per cent effective in destroying volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are any of the chemicals emitted by a whole range of things you have in your home, from oven cleaners to the drapes on your windows and the broadloom on your floor. If there’s a chemical smell, or a “new car” smell, it’s because of VOCs, and they are not good for you.

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Airocide was developed by NASA to purify the air in the space station. Now it’s available for home use.

Airocide, the developers say, is different from all other air purifiers because it is not a filter. As its name implies, it destroys all airborne organic compounds. It doesn’t capture anything, so you don’t have to clean anything when it’s done.

Airocide uses a “photo catalytic” process to break apart the molecules of organic compounds like molds. It does this with titanium dioxide and high-intensity light, which produce together hydroxyls. When organic compounds come in contact with these, the hydroxyls attack the carbon bonds and eat away at them until they are broken and the organic ceases to exist. It is effective, the makers say, against mold, fungi, pollen, dust mites, viruses and bacteria, as well as against VOCs.

Various government agencies and institutions have tested Airocide over the past decade or so and found that it has achieved, on average, 75 per cent reduction of household bacteria and molds, with similar results measured in surgeries, offices, childcare centres and dental practices.

The device, with FDA approval, is available for home use now, though it’s pricey. In the US it is selling for $799. You have to replace the reaction chamber, where the photo catalytic process happens, once a year, and these sell for $99.

If you are concerned about the quality of the air in your home, it could be worth it to you to invest in a product that actually works.

 

 

 

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