Andrea Purifier Clears the Air with Houseplants

Last seen as an Invention Award-winning prototype in 2008, the Andrea air purifier hits shelves this October

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Think that newly installed carpet is clean? Think again: potentially dangerous compounds are used in the production of carpet, paint, and upholstery — and any ol’ air purifier won’t be able to catch ’em. The Andrea air purifier from Le Laboratoire does more than your run-of-the-mill number, which only grab allergens like dust and pollen, by using plants to remove chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of the Bel-Air technology used in Andrea purifiers; the filtration system won a 2008 Invention Award, but was only in the prototype stage at the time.

Together with French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, Harvard professor David Edwards has created a home air purification system that takes advantage of plants’ own internal, natural filtration. Fans inside the Andrea move air through the leaves, roots and soil; though the roots are capable of capturing more toxins than either the leaves or soil. After air has been pulled and pushed through the system through a vent on the side.

Early tests showed the system reduced the formaldehyde concentration in a room by 80 percent in one hour. What’s more, the system will work with any houseplant; though there are some that are better filtration agents than others. Peace lilies, spider plants, and aloe vera are particularly effective.

Andrea will go on sale on October 8 for $200.