Air and water: The cleaner the better

By MARCELLA S. KREITER  |  March 14, 2010 at 6:54 PM
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CHICAGO, March 14 (UPI) -- Health and wellness is always a big theme at the International Housewares Association trade show in Chicago.

Air cleaners and water filtration systems pushed new design and technology on the show floor, with stainless steel crowding out plastics.

Perhaps the most innovative and stylish air cleaner is the Andrea by Labogroup of Paris. Real plants are used in the units to circulate and clean.

"And any plant will work," Labogroup President Jose Sanchez said.

The display included everything from aloe vera to spider plants.

ZeroWater is one-upping Brita and Pur in the water filtration sector. The water filter does a better job of eliminating total dissolved solids, producing cleaner water. The pitcher and filters are a bit pricier than competitors' systems, with the pitcher going for $35 and the filters, $15.

For those who prefer filtering water a serving at a time, there's the Bobble, an 18-ounce water bottle with its own filter going for $9.99. The filters are supposed to last for two months or 300 refills. They go for $6.99 each.

Appliance-maker Sub-Zero is getting into the water bottle fray with a selection of single- and double-wall stainless offerings.

And in the unintended consequences file comes Tide with a washing machine cleaner.

It seems manufacturers didn't take into account U.S. users use cooler water to clean their clothes than European users. As a result, said Gary Childers, there's a buildup of dirt in the new front-loaders, which also use less water than older machines.

Though green technology took a backseat at this year's show compared to last year's, there was one major eco-friendly introduction: the dual-flush HydroRight converter.

Fourth-generation plumber Michael Schuster demonstrated the device, which replaces the flapper, chain and handle on any toilet to convert it to a unit that uses a third less water.

The show runs through Tuesday at McCormick Place.

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