Although my last post also included a scientific-y looking chart, I promise you, I'm not suddenly embracing my inner chemist. The past few weeks have just brought a number of fascinating, scientific processes to my attention that could mean great things for the quest to detoxify our lives and businesses. The latest? Photocatalysis.
Green Come True, a California company marketing itself as the "Photocatalyst Company," describes photocatalysts as substances that absorb light to trigger an oxidation reaction in the environment. "When UV ray in sunlight or room light strikes a surface coated with photocatalyst, the surrounding organic compounds are decomposed by strong oxidation." This means that odor causing substances and bacteria (otherwise known as dirt) are eradicated from surfaces just by exposing them to sunlight!
While the implications of photocatalysis are huge for cleaning up the indoor environments of our homes and offices, I encourage you to think even bigger...Think about what an easily applied and almost maintenance free disinfectant like this would mean for large, public (and usually germ-infested) environments as well.
As images on the Green Come True site demonstrate, photocatalysts can be applied to exterior walls, roofs, and windows at resorts, amusements parks, train stations, restaurants, hospitals, and more to created "self-cleaning" structures that also help to deodorize the air and resist decay. This could also lead to a reduced demand for toxic chemical cleaners usually used to maintain these environments, which would lead to cleaner air and healthier people.
The Catch (and I'm not sure if it really is one): Photocatalyst cleaners, such as the one offered by Green Come True, are made using Titanium dioxide, also known as titania, the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, and a common ingredient in paint, printing ink, plastics, paper, synthetic fibers, rubber and other scary-sounding things.
Learn more about Photocatalysis and the safety of Titanium dioxide: