In a world full of real or perceived health risks, I am hesitant to make you worry about another one. But have you thought seriously about the air you breathe in your car? Yes, even your fancy new car that has HEPA filters to sift out diesel particulates from the traffic around you. Airbubbl, a new in-car air cleaner from Denmark, doesn’t only remove particulates; it also deals with the odourless but dangerous NOX gases and ozone that even luxury cars generally don’t filter. Its maker, a Copenhagen startup called Airlabs, claims that even those built-in filtering systems miss a lot of pollutants they are supposed to trap. It has conducted tests it says demonstrate that its device removes more than 95 per cent of invisible toxic gases from a car interior within 12 minutes.
It would be easy to dismiss Airbubbl as a palliative for the worried well, were it not for the company’s development team, which includes atmospheric chemists and airflow engineers from recognised research institutes in Denmark and the UK. Airlabs has also impressed partners such as BNP Paribas, Chiltern Railways and JC Decaux, who have collaborated with projects to show off the Danes’ air-cleaning expertise. You have to take a certain amount on trust and instinct with a device like Airbubbl, but I will say that in the weeks of using it during winter in London traffic, I was pretty sure the air I was breathing was fresher.
Installation is easy: the device straps behind the passenger headrest. There’s an accompanying app you don’t necessarily need that shows how much pollution your Airbubbl has scrubbed. The device can also be used upright in, say, an asthmatic child’s bedroom.