To Air Is Human

Two years ago, while cooing over a friend’s baby, the new mom told me the best recent addition to their household-aside from the wee one-was an air purifier. “It’s amazing,” she said. She had one in the living room and was ordering another for the baby’s room. At $300 a pop, the thing must turn the air into pure oxygen, I figured. I wished I had one.

Fast forward to the present-my wish came true! One recent morning, parked next to my desk at work, was a Blueair 201 air purifier sent to me by the company to test. According to its user guide, the Blueair rids a 198-square-foot room of smoke, dust, gases, odor, and pollen. It’s eco-friendly, too; its filters are made of polypropylene, which breaks down into water and carbon dioxide when burned, and contain no chemical additives. And on its highest speed-there are three-it consumes just 50 watts of electricity.

With glee, I switched on my Blueair and waited. After about a week, I have to admit I could tell no difference from my pre- and post-Blueair air. But, with air conditioning and no windows, my office is pretty sterile, cold, and smell-free. Perhaps I’d have better luck with the Blueair at home-a 1930s abode through which myriad odors perpetually waft thanks to a musty basement, stinky throw rug, ashy fireplace, and seven-pound Chihuahua.

The first night I had it home, the Blueair rose to the challenge. The nose-pinching scent from a nearby skunk’s tail blasted into my house as if there were no walls at all. To my delight, however, the stench was gone in about 10 minutes (the odor often lingers for hours). At night, I moved the Blueair into my bedroom, which tends to get stuffy by sunrise, and was pleased to discover a nice circulation of air and no stuffiness whatsoever come morning.

Honestly, it’s difficult to tell what the Blueair is doing moment-to-moment. But if it can dispose of a skunk smell and keep my nighttime bedroom ventilated, then ridding the air of dust, pollen, and the like should be no problem.

To buy a Blueair, go to S. B. Center for Natural Medicine,

34 E. Sola St., or visit

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