February 20, 2019
The World Health Organization says air pollution is the biggest environmental health risk on the planet. It causes heart and respiratory disease, cancer, and stroke. But if you think you’re safe at home, you’re wrong.
In fact, WHO says that while outdoor pollution kills an estimated three million people per year, indoor pollution kills 4.3 million.
So while you may have already filled your apartment with detoxifying indoor plants and high-tech air purifiers to make sure you’re breathing the cleanest air possible, Ikea just launched a product that doesn’t come at high-tech prices and doesn’t require a green thumb.
Ikea’s Gunrid is the product of several years of research into air-cleaning technologies. The curtain is a lower-cost, passive form of technology that helps destroy indoor air pollution minus electric power or complex filtering systems. Instead, it works kind of like a houseplant, Fast Company explains.
The curtain fabric is treated with a “mineral-based photocatalyst” that can banish even the most well-known carcinogens. “The way it works is similar to the photosynthesis in nature. When the fabric comes in contact with light, it breaks down common indoor pollutants like odors and formaldehyde,” said Mauricio Affonso, IKEA product developer, in a video about the release.
As Ikea notes, other versions of this photocatalyst have been around before, but the Swedish company's version is the first that can be activated by indoor light – not just sunlight. “Successful laboratory tests have been carried out to ensure that the photocatalyst coating works and that it is safe,” the home furnishing retailer writes. “The next step is chamber tests and home tests to confirm that Gunrid efficiently removes volatile organic compounds in a room.”
While these curtains will take about a year to hit shelves, Well and Good reports, this new fabric technology can be applied to any textile. So, other items in your home — like your couch and bedspread — could one day be cleaning the air, too.