Ikea has developed a curtain that’s meant to reduce indoor air pollution. It’s a mineral based photocatalyst coating applied to the textile that leads to a process like photosynthesis found in nature. While normally photosynthesis is triggered by sunlight, the curtain works as well with outdoor light as with indoor artificial light. According to the company’s press release, the textile breaks down indoor air pollution such as odours and formaldehyde.
The WHO names air pollution the single largest environmental health risk. While the risks of air pollution outside are widely known indoor air pollution often gets overlooked. Although, according to the WHO 4 Mio people die prematurely because of diseases triggered by indoor air pollution.
While an affordable product reducing air pollution at home is a good start to counter the problem, the question where the pollution is coming from remains. Formaldehyde is a gas widely found in building materials and household products. It’s often used in pressed wood, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard as well as in glue and adhesives. Materials a lot of IKEA products are made of. While formaldehyde is not the only indoor air pollution and IKEA furniture is not the one single source that releases the gas in our homes it is questionable if it wouldn't be better to minimise the use of it in the first place?
Also, what are the materials used to coat the fabric? Are they less harmless than the air pollution they reduce? And how eco-friendly is the production of this curtain?