The clean breathing craze proves you can put a price on fresh air

Tech companies are finding innovative and lucrative ways to clean the air in our homes, fresh air sales of purifying plants are blooming

First it was clean eating; now it’s fresh air breathing. Sales of air purifiers are soaring, with the global market expected to be worth £6.2bn by 2024.

The trend is in response to the rise in asthma and allergies linked to poor air quality inside buildings. Research says it can be up to five times more polluted than air outside, with chemicals from cleaning products, aerosols and perfume rivalling diesel fumes as causes of contamination.

Tech companies are racing to come up with ways to clean the air around us. The San Francisco startup behind Molekule, for example, promises its nanotechnology will “actually destroy” pollutants “at the molecular level”. Neither the $799 (£568) price tag nor an endorsement from Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site Goop are putting buyers off.

BetterAir’s Biodify, meanwhile, is the world’s first probiotic air purifier, using healthy bacteria known as Bacillus subtilis to create a “protective shield of microflora”. CEO Taly Dery says the company has seen a 50% growth in sales since the last quarter.

But can tech really help? “There is no silver bullet because every home is different,” says Douglas Booker, CEO of NAQTS, a social enterprise seeking to improve awareness of indoor air quality through its monitoring technology. “But we spend 92% of our time indoors, so it’s important we’re aware of ways to reduce indoor air pollution, such as opening windows, using extractor fans when cooking and never smoking indoors,” he says.

There is also evidence that plants can reduce levels of toxic compounds – some have been used to filter air inside the International Space Station. Freddie Blackett is founder of the online plant shop Patch. “Air purifiers are our biggest sellers of 2018, up 130% in the last six months,” he says. He recommends aloe vera, which can improve sleep, and Epipremnum aureum (AKA Ceylon creeper or Devil’s Ivy), which removes formaldehyde and benzene from the air.

Not only do plants purify; they can also help boost productivity. So you’ll be able to worry more efficiently about all the things that are killing you.