Houseplants for a Clean, Green Home!

Houseplants can provide a lovely accent to any room in your home, but did you know that they can also help keep the air in your home clean and purified?

In 1989, NASA undertook a series of studies to evaluate the ability of certain houseplants to remove toxic pollutants from the air. Many of these pollutants are found in building materials, furniture finishes and other common household items, and can cause a range of health complaints.

Here are the five common household air pollutants that could pose a threat to your health:

·      Trichloroethylene is found in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes, adhesives and paint removing agents. Short term exposure can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.

·      Formaldehyde is found in paper bags, waxed papers, facial tissues, paper towels and napkins, particle board (such as that used to make furniture), plywood, and synthetic fabrics. Short term exposure can cause nasal irritation and irritation to the mouth and throat.

·      Benzene is found in plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, rubber lubricants, dyes, detergents, pharmaceuticals and pesticides. May also be present in tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust fumes, glue, and furniture wax. Short term exposure may cause irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness, increase inheart rate, headache and confusion.

·      Xylene is found in printed products, rubber, leather and paint and may be present in tobacco smoke and vehicle exhaust fumes. Short term exposure may cause irritation to mouth and throat, dizziness, headache, confusion, heart problems, liver and kidney damage.

·      Ammonia is found in conventional window cleaners, floor waxes, bath salts and fertilizers. Short term exposure may cause eye irritation, coughing and sore throat.

Many of these toxin containing household items can easily be removed or replaced with non-toxic varieties; however, some of them are built into the walls and floors of your house or are hiding in your furniture, and may be very difficult if not impossible to remove. But luckily, the following houseplants are quite efficient at filtering these toxins from the air as they are outgassed by the furniture and/or the building itself. And, as an added bonus, they look nice, too!

 

BOSTON FERN

Purifies formaldehyde and xylene from the air. Does well in hanging baskets. Prefers bright indirect light, moderate watering needs. Nontoxic to pets.

CHINESE EVERGREEN

Purifies formaldehyde and benzene from the air.  Tolerant of low light, moderate watering needs. Toxic to dogs and cats.

FLAMINGO LILY

(Anthurium) Purifies Formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia from the air. Prefers bright indirect light, moderate watering needs. Toxic to dogs and cats.

FLORIST CHRYSANTHEMUM

Purifies trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, carbon monoxide and ammonia from the air. Low light and watering requirements. Toxic to dogs and cats.

RED-EDGED DRACAENA

Purifies trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene and xylene from the air. Prefers medium light, moderate watering requirements. Toxic to dogs and cats.

BARBERTON DAISY

(Gerbera jamesonii) Purifies trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the air. Prefers full sunlight, regular watering. Non-toxic to pets.

VARIEGATED SNAKE PLANT

Purifies trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene and xylene from the air. Prefers indirect sunlight, low watering requirements. Toxic to dogs and cats.

SPIDER PLANT

Purifies formaldehyde and xylene from the air.  Prefer bright indirect light and high humidity, moderate watering needs.Nontoxic to pets.

ENGLISH IVY

Purifies trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene from the air.  Prefers indirect sunlight and regular watering. Toxic to dogs and cats.

PEACE LILY

Purifies trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and ammonia from the air. Tolerates low light; moderate watering requirements. Toxic to dogs and cats.

BAMBOO PALM

Purifies formaldehyde and xylene from the air. Prefers indirect sunlight and has low to moderate watering needs.  Nontoxic to pets.

LADY PALM

Purifies formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia from the air. Prefers indirect sunlight and has moderate watering requirements. Non toxic to pets.

Print out a copy of this list and take it along next time you visit the garden store. Environmental toxins are all around us, but with help from our green, oxygen creating friends, we can reduce our family’s exposure to them!