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Blog/Opinion: Making Homes and Businesses Healthier by Copying Nature

By HHI Staff

Biomimicry is the “study and imitation of nature’s remarkably efficient designs, bringing together scientists, engineers, architects and innovators who can use those models to create sustainable technologies” (Biomimicry Institute).


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Recent innovations demonstrate ways biomimicry is helping to make homes and businesses healthier. 


Blue Mussels and Healthier Plywood


According to the website, “Columbia Forest Products learned about natural adhesives from the blue mussel. This ocean species attaches itself firmly to underwater structures without use of toxic chemicals. Columbia's PureBond® is a soy-based formaldehyde-free technology used in the construction of hardwood plywood products.”


The replacement of formaldehyde-free glues enables creating plywood that does not contain and outgas formaldehyde. For more information, visit:


Sharkskins and Hygienic Surfaces


Sharkskin has a remarkable microscopic texture that repels bacteria without chemicals. It does this through a pattern that prevents bacteria from sticking to the surface and growing.


Sharklet Technologies is a biotech company that has imitated the microbial-resistant properties of sharkskin to develop surface technologies that inhibit microbe growth. They have produced “the world’s first micro-pattern developed to control bacteria including Staph a., MRSA, VRE, E. coli and a host of others.” Sharklet™ is suited for commercial, healthcare, food service and laboratory environments where bacterial control is important to protect human health.


For example, when the Sharklet material is used on healthcare surfaces:


•   Bacteria find it difficult to attach
•   Bacteria that do attach do not survive
•   Bacteria are less likely to transfer from the synthetic micro-pattern to hands.


Tactivex™ - one application of Sharklet technology - is a “bacteria inhibiting film that may be applied as a protective skin to high-touch surfaces or integrated with products to reduce the survival and spread of bacteria.”


For more information:


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The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.


While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

(Note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

Making Homes and Businesses Healthier by Copying Nature:  Created on September 5th, 2011.  Last Modified on September 7th, 2011


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Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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