Ikea’s new curtains purify the air inside your house – Fast Company, 20 Feb 2019, Jesus Diaz
The World Health Organization says that air pollution is the biggest environmental health risk on the planet. It causes heart and respiratory disease, cancer, and stroke. Scientists attribute 1 of every 8 deaths caused by those diseases to pollution. And if you think you’re safe at home, you’re wrong: Indoor pollution can be five times worse in some parts of the world. WHO says that while outdoor pollution kills an estimated 3 million people per year, indoor pollution kills 4.3 million.
In other words, we need all the help we can get – both indoors and outside. That’s the idea behind Gunrid, a new product from Ikea.
Through the WI Lens
Consciousness about poor air quality has been rising, and largely focuses on pollution from factories and particulates – the tiny toxic particles contained in emissions from diesel engines. Yet air pollution within the home is also a serious threat, arising from a range of sources, such as the chemically based fire retardants with which much modern furniture is treated. According to Fast Company’s article, “the World Health Organisation says that while outdoor pollution kills an estimated 3 million people per year, indoor pollution kills 4.3 million”. There are existing technologies around to tackle this issue, primarily involving complex filters and electronic processes. What’s remarkable about Gunrid is that it uses neither and instead simulates natural processes such as photosynthesis, by deploying a light-sensitive catalyst which breaks down dangerous chemicals. Simple and natural trumps complex and high tech when it comes to wellness solutions, not least because anything that depends upon electronic engineering tends to create new problems in solving existing ones. Even better, this is a solution that seemingly has immense potential to be incorporated into every piece of domestic upholstery – as well as in hotels, airports and other public places. Roll on 2020 when it hits an Ikea store near you!
“On such fragile foundations are built the first steps towards a more ethical kind of business, and who knows what virtuous circles might result?”
“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”
“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”
“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”
“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”
“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”
“All roads lead to a wellbeing anchor, whether that be economic/financial, physical, mental or emotional: all contribute to a progressive and inclusive cosmopolitan world. The answer should not be a choice of one or the other but of a joined up and compassionate solution for society, business and individuals.”
“The paradox is that we continue to do this in spite of recognising that striving to become ever-more productive is an intrinsically unhealthy behaviour, leading to stress and too often, a sense of failure.”
“The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against black Americans is also responsible for higher mortality among black Americans with Covid-19,” Maimuna Majumder, a Harvard epidemiologist working on the Covid-19 response, tells Vox.
The take-out from this? Wellbeing cannot exist at a more elevated level without our basic needs being met.