Best indoor air Cleansing plants

Golden Pothosby Nick Gromicko and Kate Tarasenko

Raising plants indoors is a home-healthy move because of their ability to clean the air of carbon dioxide, but their benefits don't stop there. According to several studies, the average houseplant can remove formaldehyde, benzene, and a host of other toxins that plague typical indoor air.

It may come as a surprise, but indoor air is often much more polluted than the air outside. Off-gassing from paints, adhesives, and even unsuspected items, such as clothing and tap water, infuse the air we breathe will a host of chemicals, many of which are proven carcinogens. Newer, tighter homes are especially problematic, since they limit the amount of fresh air that can make its way into the interior. Compound this with the average time that citizens of developed nations spend indoors - approximately 90% - and the need for remediation becomes clear. Answering this need can be as simple as the addition of green, leafy plants to the living space.

These plants are excellent enhancers of indoor air qualityInteresting Facts

  • Removal of environmental airborne toxins with the aid of plants is called phytoremediation.
  • Plants can reduce stress, increase work performance, and reduce symptoms of ill health.

Study Performed by NASA

While researching the ability of plants to cleanse air in space stations, NASA made some fascinating and important discoveries concerning the role that houseplants play here on Earth. They tested the ability of a variety of plants to remove common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. The toxins tested include:

  • benzene:
  • found in petroleum-based indoor coatings, gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics, rubber, cleaning solutions, plastics, and exterior exhaust fumes emanating into buildings;
  • an irritant and probable carcinogen. Inhalation of benzene has been reported to cause dizziness, weakness, euphoria, headache, nausea, blurred vision, respiratory diseases, tremors, irregular heartbeat, liver and kidney damage, paralysis and unconsciousness.
  • trichloroethylene (TCE):
      found in a wide variety of products, such as inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives;
    • is a potent liver carcinogen.
  • formaldehyde:
      found in virtually all indoor environments due to its widespread use in many kinds of products. Specifically, it may be found in:
        urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), particleboard and pressed-wood products;
      • paper products, such as grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels;
      • common household cleaning agents;
      • stiffeners, wrinkle-resisters, water-repellents, fire-retardants and adhesive binders in floor coverings, carpet backings and permanent-press clothes; and
      • heating and cooking fuels, such as natural gas and kerosene, and cigarette smoke.
    • Formaldeyde causes watery eyes, nausea and wheezing. More seriously, the chemical is classified as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
  • toluene:
      found in adhesives, disinfectants, rubber, printing ink, lacquers, and leather tanners;
    • Symptoms in low doses include sleepiness, confusion, weakness, memory loss, nausea, loss of appetite, and hearing and color-vision loss. High levels of toluene may cause light-headedness, unconsciousness, and death.

  • Flourescent lights for starts

    2005-03-19 09:48:27 by ByeByeOil

    Hi again gardeners. I have another question. I am growing starts indoors under flourescent lights. However, i don't know which lights are better: The full spectrum bright ones (3,400 lumens) or the ones that say "for indoor plants and aquariums" (1,700 lumens)? Also, I understand it's best to hang them about 2-4 inches above the starts, raising them as the starts grow. Is this correct? Thanks! - Emanuel in Seattle


    Bright direct sunlight is usually best

    2006-10-13 19:43:41 by Twice_shy

    For indoors pepper plant. I keep a 'usually outdoors' thai pepper plant inside during the winter, & keep it on a south facing windowsill where it gets the most direct sunlight possible. It looks a bit the worse for wear by the spring, drops some leaves, & generally looking sickly & yellow-ish by February & March, but so far it survives ok.
    Helpful hints: Suggest you prune yours back as much as possible, possibly re-pot it if hasn't been repotted in a while, & put it outdoors on warm days, bring back inside & night. You want it to start sprouting some new growth after the pruning, then when the temps just won't allow it outside at all, bring it in and keep it in the most sunny & warm spot in your house


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