Indoor air pollution threatens most those who get outside least. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “in the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.” Many people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. Those most susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution include the young, elderly, and chronically ill. For people with cardiovascular and respiratory disease, the amount of time inside is often even greater. The EPA recommends three basic strategies to improve indoor air quality: source control, ventilation improvements, and air cleaners.
A company called Molekule has a new eponymous product, the Molekule Air Purifier, that it claims works at the molecular level. The Molekule employs a nanoparticle-coated filter activated by light in a catalytic reaction that breaks pollutants down to harmless elements. For example, according to MoleKule, an oxidized e.coli bacterium subject to its process breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen. The company states, “Independent lab studies have shown 3.9 million E.Coli completely eliminated in a single pass through a Molekule system.” Molekule has patented a process called Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO). According to the company, the PECO process can destroy pollutants as small as 0.1 nanometers, versus HEPA filters which only capture particles of 300 nanometers.
The device is portable and can be carried from room to room. The company suggests one unit per 600 square feet of living space. If you spend most of the time in your home in one area but then sleep in a separate room, the company recommends that you have the unit bedside while you sleep. There are two filters in the Molekule: a nano-filter and a prefilter. A smartphone app (currently available only for iOS but Android is coming) lets you control the unit remotely and receive alerts when filters need changing. There’s a $99 annual maintenance plan in which the company ships the required filters for a year’s use; early customers get a full year’s free subscription.
Molekule only sells its air purifier directly on its website. According to the company, both of the first two production runs have sold out and it’s now taking pre-orders for the next production batch. The first batches of the Molekule Air Purifier sold for $499, but the price when it goes to full production is going to be $799.