Household Plants Detoxify Indoor Air
Most people know that plants consume carbon dioxide as well as give off oxygen, but did you know that your household plants may actually be clearing your air of other commonly found toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene?
Studies done by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) show that certain houseplants remove as much as 87% of indoor air pollutants within 24 hours.
Formaldehyde is becoming increasingly prevalent in today's homes due to remodeling, new construction and just plain convenience. It is found in particleboard, plywood, furniture, waxed paper, carpeting, upholstery, permanent press "wrinkle-free" fabrics (shirts and bed sheets), flame retardant clothing, baby care products, perfume/cologne, cigarette smoke and office equipment. Formaldehyde is also a chemical used for embalming the deceased.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), formaldehyde is known to cause cancer in animals and is suspected of causing cancer in humans. It can also cause wheezing and coughing; fatigue; skin rash; and severe allergic reactions.
Benzene is found in inks, paints, plastics, rubber, detergents, cigarette smoke, and synthetic fibers.
The EPA classifies benzene as a known cancer causing compound. In addition, it damages the bone marrow, nervous system and immune system. It may cause infertility problems in woman.
Trichloroehtylene is commonly used to dry-clean clothing. It can also be found in inks, paints, varnishes and adhesives.
According to the EPA, trichloroethylene exposure is associated with several types of cancers in humans, especially kidney, liver, cervix, and lymphatic system. It may increase a woman's risk of miscarriage. Symptoms of exposure may include sleepiness, fatigue, headache, and confusion.
Air Purifying Plants
Some of the air-purifying household plants include:
More energy efficient homes these days means less drafts, and consequently, less fresh air. This results in an accumulation of pollutants in the air.
The NASA researchers suggest using 1 potted plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.
To learn other easy ways of improving the air quality in your home, please refer to our Indoor Air Quality article.
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