Posted on May 09, 2018, 1 a.m.
Pollution is a hot topic, justifiably. The industrial revolution has brought vast clouds of noxious chemicals into everyday life, which affects everywhere worldwide. Even the cleaner burning, more efficient factories are still clogging cities with chemicals and particulate matter which contributes to a variety of respiratory and general health conditions.
This is pretty much common knowledge to the vast majority of people, but very few people realize that the polluted air is travelling into homes. Combine that with lack of circulation, cleaning products, off gassing textiles and furniture, that all can create a not so lovely mix of air pollution spread all of most areas of homes, even scarier it’s been breathed in for decades. This polluted air isn’t doing any health favors, in fact studies show it is adding against it, contributing to conditions such as asthma and worse. There is a simple way to improve the quality of air inside your home, which will also add a simple touch of green while cleaning the air; plants.
Snake Plants are easy to care for and will provide an nice sculptural sensual flair to any interior, as a bonus they are one of the most powerful ways to remove unwanted airborne pollutants from the home. Studies comparing them to 12 other air purifying indoor plants found the snake plant to be the most effective at removing volatile organic compound toulene, which is the leading cause of asthma. NASA research shows keeping these low maintenance plants clean the air inside of the home from toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde. They may be toxic to pets, so keep out of reach.
Spider Plants were shown by that same study to be the most efficient at removing ethylbenzene which is a toxic VOC which is strongly linked to cancer. Spider plants are probably the easiest to care for and come in a variety of pretty species, which is very adaptable for any room, non toxic to pets, but they do have a similar effect of catnip to cats.
Spade Leaf philodendron has been shown in NASA studies to efficiently clean large airborne concentrations of carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and benzene from air inside the home which are linked to things from sudden death to cancer to cell mutations. Philodendrons are one of the easiest to care for with big beautiful leaves with a splash of colour. They are poisonous to pets and humans.
Aloe Vera is a common plant that has medicinal properties as well as being fantastic at removing toxic airborne pollutants from the home such as benzene and formaldehyde. They are succulent, meaning they are like cacti and do best in dry conditions and need bright light. This lovely plant which can help treat minor rashes and burns, is fairly easy to care for. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea in humans and pets if ingested.
English Ivy emerges as a winner in removing formaldehyde from the air in studies. The lovely vine is poisonous to pets and mildly to humans if ingested, but it is easy to care for, so it can be planted in hard to reach areas without worrying about maintenance. It loves shade, and likes to spread, clinging to anything making it useful at covering empty spaces, or shaping to form topiary frames and designs.
Peace Lily is probably one of the most pleasant and calming plants to have indoors. It comes from a variety of species that are pleasant aesthetically and provide a soothing aura. They have been proven by NASA to clean toulene, benzene, carbon monoxide, and n-hexane from the air, which have been linked to sensory loss among other general health issues. This beautiful plant is not a true lily so it does not pack the full toxic punch.
Golden Pothos is another pretty yet function plant on the NASA top performing list, only second to the spider plant in removal of formaldehyde molecules and carbon monoxide. It can survive lower light and colder temperatures than other plants. They are poisonous to humans and pets if ingested.
Corn Plants also did well in the NASA study, also known as mass cane. It is one of the most popular low maintenance houseplants. They are toxic to pets.
Gerbera daisy and chrysanthemums which are lovely flowering plants were also rated as superior in the NASA study at removing benzene from the air. They are fairly easy to care for coming in a variety of species, they require bright light. They are not poisonous but can cause allergic reactions if ingested by human, but they are poisonous to pets.
Benzene is a solvent found in a wide range of products such as gas, detergent, ink, dyes, paint, and pharmaceuticals. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen commonly used in many products from building materials to paper, carpet, toilet paper, cleaners, clothing, and cigarette smoke. Trichloroethylene is used in things such as paint, ink, varnish, adhesives, and dry cleaning solutions.
NASA did not just study the plants, they studied it as a whole right from the roots to the leaves, soil, and microorganisms in the soil. Combinations of activated filtration systems and power aeration of the houseplants resulted in very effective and efficient air decontamination which is often skipped over.
The 12 air cleaning plants they screened were: Mass cane/Corn cane, Warnecki, Snake Plant, Chinese evergreen, Peace Lily, Pot mum, Bamboo plant, Gerbera daisy, Janet Craig, Marginata/Red-edged Dracaena, English Ivy, and Ficus. All of which are considered to be fairly easy to care for, low light plants that are expected to do well in indoor contained settings.
When taken as a whole these plants worked well at removing contaminants from the air and improving air quality, and help to provide beauty, which can help to promote positivity and improve quality of life.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.