According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Currently, you can opt for a lot of plants in your house or buy expensive air purifiers to combat the problem of bad indoor air—however with IKEA's new product, it could be as easy as changing your curtains.
The Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture retailer has developed a type of fabric that can actively purify the air in your home. Called GUNRID, the curtain uses a technology IKEA has been developing over the last few years in collaboration with universities in Europe and Asia.
A mineral-based treatment is applied to the surface of the fabric and, using a process similar to photosynthesis, it breaks down particles of common pollutants such as odors and formaldehyde, "cleansing" the air. Both artificial and natural light can trigger the process, but details as to exactly what type of particles it can act on, and how large they need to be, haven't been released yet.
Air purification is a critical technology in our heavily polluted world. The World Health Organization has classified air pollution—both indoor and out—as the world's largest health risk, linking it to one in every eight deaths.
IKEA's technology is not unique to curtains; it could be applied to any fabric. "GUNRID is the first product to use the technology," says Lena Pripp-Kovac, head of sustainability at Inter IKEA Group. "But the development will give us opportunities for future applications on other textiles."
"For me, it’s important to work on products that solve actual problems and are relevant to people," says Mauricio Affonso, Product Developer at IKEA Range & Supply. "Textiles are used across homes, and by enabling a curtain to purify the air, we are creating an affordable and space-saving air-purifying solution that also makes the home more beautiful," he says.
Don't rush out to your nearest IKEA just yet, however. Details around exactly how this technology works are still limited, as is whether the curtains will need to be cleaned more regularly or replaced earlier due to their odor-fighting qualities. The product also won't be available until 2020. But as far as innovations in curtains go, this is definitely one to watch. To learn more, visit IKEA.
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