Our homes contain many irritants both seen and unseen, which contribute to poor indoor, air quality. Invaders such as molds, bacteria, pollen, dust, and pet dander seem to be the most prevalent culprits. Often contributing to the development of chronic respiratory diseases as well as headaches, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue.
According to the American Lung Association, many homes also contain common chemicals such as Radon, Formaldehyde, Carbon monoxide, and many others. Often our favorite household items like pesticides, cleaning products, paints, and solvents may be sources of potentially harmful chemicals. These chemicals have been known to contribute to chronic health problems including lung cancer.
What can you do to improve the air quality in your home? One simple solution to help you get started on the right path is Houseplants. In 1989 NASA released a report titled Interior Landscape Plants For Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. The report detailed the findings of a two-year study on the effects of using houseplants for the purpose of improving air quality by removing pollutants from indoor air.
While the report does leave a need for further studies the results of the study are promising. There were some definitive findings and a list of the most effective plants for removing many of the harmful toxins was complied. I’ll get to that later. What you first need to know is the study found that common houseplants could improve air quality in as little as 24 hours. Some of the toxins tested and either successfully removed or substantially reduced included Benzene, Trichloroethytene, and Formaldehyde. Another interesting fact according to the study is that
… when the same plants and potting soil are constantly exposed to air containing such toxins as benzene, their capacity to continuously clean the air improves…This is not surprising, since it is a well-established fact that microorganisms have the ability to genetically adapt, thereby increasing their ability to utilize toxic chemicals as a food source when continuously exposed to such chemicals.
Based on the findings it is believed that approximately one, low-light requiring, houseplant of a 6-8 inches in diameter for every 100 square feet of your home will greatly improve your air quality. It also appears that by clipping low hanging leaves of some plants and keeping the soil exposed the absorption of toxic chemicals is even greater. Combine the use of houseplants with certain air filtration systems and your results are even greater. But for those that don’t have or can’t readily afford an air filtration system. Plants are a proven quick way to get started on your way to better health.
Best Plants For Indoor Air Pollution Abatement
- Gerbera Daisy- Gerbera Jamesonii
- English Ivy- Hedera Helix
- Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea Seifritzii
- Chinese Evergreen – Aglaonema Modestum
- Marginata – Dracaena Marginata
- Mass cane/Corn Plant – Dracaena Massangeana
- Pot Mum – Chrysantheium morifolium
- Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum
- Mother-in-Law’s Tongue- Sansevieria Laurentii
- Warneckii – Dracaena Warneckii
- Janet Craig – Dracaena Deremensis
The American Lung Association has additional tips for a healthy home.