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    With Philips entering the market last month, our pick of new air purifiers that promise to zap bacteria and filter pollen

    With dust, mould and smoke adding to common allergens like traffic fumes and pollen, it seems we are much more at risk behind closed doors. In fact, according to several studies (including the United States Environmental Protection Agencya��s), indoor pollutants can be anywhere between five and 30 times (sometimes even 100 times) more than the outdoors. While air purifiers have been used across the globe over the last few decades, India is just waking up to it and the recent launch of Philipsa�� new range underlines this new awareness. a�?People talk about air pollution after Diwali, but what we dona��t realise is that we spend a lot of time indoors and the stagnant, polluted air is causing a lot of respiratory problems,a�? says Jayati Singh, director of marketing – health & wellness, Philips India. However, doctors here are yet to make up their minds about their efficacy. a�?While we know it can filter smoke and fumes, which aggravate allergies, Ia��m not sure how effective air purifiers are in tackling the main allergens like dust mites,a�? says Meenakshi Krishnan, consultant allergist, Apollo Hospitals. That said, herea��s getting you up to speed on five new air purifiers.

    Atlanta-gamaAtlanta Healthcare
    Touted as Indiaa��s first medical air purifier, the Gama 501 claims to have been specifically designed to tackle the high air pollution found in India. With a high grade HEPA filtera��removes particulate matter up to 0.3 micronsa��it also uses activated carbon filters to catalyse and remove harmful gases like formaldehyde and ammonia. Its photo catalyst and UV light promise to remove viruses and sterilise air up to 97.5 per cent. Details: Rs.17,500 to Rs.42,500. Available at amazon.in


    An air purifier and humidifier, it comes equipped with Nanoe technologya��electrostatic atomised water particles said to inhibit the growth of viruses and bacteria. a�?Its composite filters include super alleru-buster (inhibits allergens), green tea catechin (inhibits virus) and anti-bacteria enzyme (inhibits bacteria),a�? says Manish Sharma, MD, Panasonic India. It also has Econavi technology, which monitors pollution patterns and adjusts operation speeds. Details: Rs.12,995 to Rs.31,995. Available at mypstore.in


    With this air purifier, you dona��t even need to be in the room to turn it on. Honeywella��s latest includes integrated Bluetooth, which lets you use your smartphone (Android or iOS) to control settings and set a schedule. It is also programmed to track local pollen count (through a free mobile app available on Google Play) and adjust fan levels automatically. Details: Approximately Rs.16,546 onwards. Available at amazon.com



    With a four-level filtration system, their portable air purifiers promise to filter bacteria and allergens. a�?The first antibacterial filter catches big particles, like hair and dust. Then the formaldehyde filter and the activated carbon filter remove harmful gases and odours. The final HEPA filter (grade 11) with antibacterial coating filters out fine dust, pollen, germs and mould,a�? says Singh, emphasising that their products can filter particles up to .02 microns.A� Rs.16,995 to Rs.39,995. Details: Available at amazon.in

    Its first claim to fame is its promise to filter out 99.97 per cent of the particles (up to 0.3 microns) floating around your home. Based on Plasmacluster technology, it discharges positive and negative ions that attach to microbes, creating high oxidising (OH) radicals that draw out hydrogen from the cells, breaking their membranes and rendering them inactive. This brings us to its second claim to fame: the hydrogen and OH combine to form water, which leaves the air fresh. Details: Rs.15,990 to Rs.28,990. Available at amazon.in

    FOR-BOXaFuture speak
    PHNIX Air Purifier: The Chinese brand claims to have an a�?air changinga�? function that will decrease CO2 concentration and give a�?alivea�� air
    Lotus Portable Air Balls: Consists of three portable air balls: pure ball (eliminate biological contaminations), odour ball (eliminates odour), and humid ball (adjusts humidity). You can even operate them via your smartphone
    Ohita: Clip these portable purifiers from Electrolux to a backpack or bag to ensure clean air wherever you go. Also sync with social media networks to show how you are helping the planet

    Keep in mind
    The technology: The best performers have more than one filter technology. And a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is essential as it removes up to 99.97 per cent of all particles
    CADR (clean air delivery rate): This indicates the volume of air filtered by an air purifier. So the higher it is, the better. Choose one which covers tobacco smoke, pollen and dust
    Room area cleaned: Compare your room size and the producta��s coverage before investing

    The debate
    There is a lot of talk surrounding air ionising purifiers and ozone generating purifiers. While the former produces low amounts of ozone as a by-product, the latter intentionally creates it to purify and deodorise. But this has been known to cause breathing troublea��and ozone generators are banned in certain places. However, discussions are still on

    a��Surya Praphulla Kumar


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