The new miracle material.
We do go on about indoor air quality, and years ago would complain about all the formaldehyde in the particleboard in cheap IKEA and other brands of furniture. They cleaned up their act by phasing out hazardous chemicals and reducing emissions, and now are proposing to actually clean up our homes with their new GUNRID curtains. From the press release:
“Besides enabling people to breathe better air at home, we hope that GUNRID will increase people’s awareness of indoor air pollution, inspiring behavioural changes that contribute to a world of clean air,” says Lena Pripp-Kovac, Head of Sustainability at Inter IKEA Group. “GUNRID is the first product to use the technology, but the development will give us opportunities for future applications on other textiles.”
IKEA doesn't quite say what is in the fabric, but describes it as " both unique and innovative. It consists of a mineral based, photo catalyst coating that is applied to the textile. When activated by light – both indoor and outdoor light - GUNRID breaks down common indoor air pollutants." They call it "a unique technology, which has been developed by IKEA over the last years together with universities in Europe and Asia as well as IKEA suppliers and innovators. The way it works is similar to photosynthesis found in nature." According to Product Developer Mauricio Affonso,
Photo catalysts are generally only activated by sunlight, but the coating we have developed together with our partners also reacts to indoor light.
The TreeHugger take is that these pollutants shouldn't be in your house in the first place, but that's really hard with all the solvents in cleaners and makeup, and the surprising amount of VOCs emitted by cooking in your big open kitchen with a lousy exhaust hood.
Product Developer Mauricio Affonso says everyone deserves clean air.
Many people know that outdoor air pollution can be a problem, but not many are aware that indoor air can be as bad, or even worse than the outdoor air. That is why we see it as our responsibility to bring awareness to the problems associated with indoor air pollution. This way people can do something about it.
Having materials that actually absorb and break down indoor pollutants instead of emitting them is a great step forward. As Lena Pripp-Kovac notes, “We know that there is no single solution to solve air pollution. We work long term for positive change, to enable people to live healthier and more sustainable lives.”
UPDATE: A sharp-eyed reader noticed in the video that the drapes are treated with Titanium Dioxide. We have expressed reservations about this technology before, concluding that "there are no magic bullets. We just have to stop making pollution in the first place."