We were intrigued by the ads we’ve seen for a new type of ceramic tile with enhanced antibacterial properties, as well as the ability to absorb volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. Active™ Clean Air and Antibacterial Ceramic was invented by Italian company Fiandre and American StonePeak Ceramics.  The tile was developed through an innovative production method that uses the active properties of titanium dioxide to create antibacterial surface and reduce VOCs from the air.

According tothe company’s literature, the compound titanium dioxide acts as a catalyst to break down certain organic compounds through the chemical process of oxidation. Titanium dioxide is used in many applications and for a white pigment in plastics, paints and building cement. The compound has no adverse effects on humans.

The Active™ ceramic tile incorporates titanium dioxide in its glaze and so the colors available tend toward pale beiges, whites and cream colors. In laboratory test, the tiles treated with the titanium dioxide were found to “…[P]rovide a meaningful reduction in organic and inorganic pollutants, self-cleaning properties through a reduction in water surface tension and important anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties,” according to Dr. Jennifer Ariss, a research scientist at the Tile Council of North America.

For homes that need to improve indoor air quality to protect family members who have allergies or asthma, this tile would seem to have a useful application.  In any case, we’re certainly in favor of self-cleaning bathroom tiles!