Air pollution within the home causes 3.8 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. A recent University of Colorado in Boulder study reported by The Guardian found that cooking a full Thanksgiving meal could raise levels of particulate matter 2.5 in the house higher than the levels averaged in New Delhi, the world’s sixth most polluted city.
But soon, you will be able to shop for a solution in the same place you buy your budget roasting pans. IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID.
“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,” Inter IKEA Group Head of Sustainability Lena Pripp-Kovac said in a Monday press release.
The GUNRID’s powers are enabled by a mineral treatment that allows it to mimic photosynthesis: breaking down harmful chemicals when exposed to either natural or artificial light. IKEA worked with European and Asian universities to develop the technology over the past few years.
IKEA says that its “mineral-based photocatalyst” is different from other models because it responds to indoor light, Fast Company reported. It breaks down odors and indoor pollutants like the known carcinogen formaldehyde.
“Successful laboratory tests have been carried out to ensure that the photocatalyst coating works and that it is safe,” IKEA said, according to Fast Company. “The next step is chamber tests and home tests to confirm that GUNRID efficiently removes volatile organic compounds in a room.”
Because the treatment used on the GUNRID could be used on other textiles as well, other air-cleansing products may be in IKEA’s future.
“GUNRID is the first product to use the technology, but the development will give us opportunities for future applications on other textiles,” Pripp-Kovac said.
IKEA Range & Supply Product Developer Mauricio Affonso said he was inspired by the air pollution he experienced as a child in Brazil, according to Fast Company.
“For me, it’s important to work on products that solve actual problems and are relevant to people,” Alfonso said in the press release. “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.”
IKEA estimates the curtain will be available to purchase by 2020, Fast Company reported.
The GUNRID is one of many attempts by the Swedish furniture store to improve its environmental impact. It has been working to phase dangerous chemicals out of its products and reduce air emissions, as well as to reduce its carbon footprint per product an average of 70 percent by 2030 compared to 2016 levels. In 2018 it launched the Better Air Now! Initiative with the intention of turning rice straw—a byproduct of rice harvesting that is often burned and pollutes the air—into a novel product source for the company. It also pledged to phase out single-use plastics by 2020.