August 26, 2012

Green Clean Your Air with Houseplants. ~ Jeff Davis

When I was young it seemed that everyone had houseplants, but I don’t see them as much today.

Could the lack of houseplants be part of the problem with some of today’s health concerns?

Many health problems have been traced to the chemicals we use in our homes but haven’t we used these chemicals for years?

Maybe the houseplants helped protect us in years past—just a thought.

So, I did some research on houseplants and indoor air quality and this is what I found:

Those indoor plants, that spruce and beautify your home or office, may just be the answer to fighting against the rising levels of indoor air pollution.

NASA scientists, during a two year study, found house plants to be surprisingly useful in absorbing potentially harmful gases and cleaning the air inside modern buildings. According to their findings, the common indoor plant may provide a natural way of helping combat “Sick Building Syndrome.”

The chemicals used in the research were:

Trichloroethylene (TCE)—used primarily in dry cleaning but also in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives.

Health Concerns: Known as a potent liver carcinogen.

Benzene—used as a solvent and can be found in gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics and rubber. It is also used in the manufacturing of detergents, pharmaceuticals and dyes.

Health Concerns: Known to irritate the skin and eyes, may be a contributing factor in chromosomal aberrations and leukemia. The inhalation of high levels 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. Chronic exposure to even relatively low levels causes headaches, loss of appetite, drowsiness, nervousness, psychological disturbances and diseases of the blood system, including anemia and bone marrow diseases.

Formaldehyde—found in virtually all indoor environments, it is used in Urea-Formaldehyde Foam Insulation (UFFI) and particle board, or pressed wood products. It can also be found in consumer paper products which have been treated with UF resins, including grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels as well as floor coverings, carpet backings and permanent-press clothes.

Health Concerns: Known to irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat. Formaldehyde exposure  can be linked to asthma and recent research conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes it a strong suspect in the cause of a rare type of throat cancer in long-term occupants of mobile homes.

Here are 21 houseplants that will help clean the air in your home or office:

1. Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea Seifritzii

2. Lady Palm – Rhapis excelsa

3. English Ivy – Hedera Helix

4. Gerbera Daisy – Gerbera Jamesonii

5. Janet Craig – Dracaena “Janet Craig”

6. Rubber Plants – Ficus robusta

7. Mass cane/Corn Plant – Dracaena Massangeana

8. Warneckii – Dracaena “Warneckii”

9. Pot Mum – Chrysantheium morifolium

10. Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum

11. Boston Fern – nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”

12. Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum “Vittatum”

13. Wax Begonia – Begonia semperflorens

14. Chinese Evergreen – Aglaonema Modestum

15. Mother-in-Law’s Tongue – Sansevieria Laurentii

16. Heart Leaf Philodendron – Philodendron scandens oxycardium

17. Prayer Plant – Maranta leuconeura “Kerchoveana”

18. Aloe Vera – Aloe barbadensis

19. Dwarf Banana – Musa cavendishii

20. Dwarf Date Palm – Phoenix roebelenii

21. Marginata – Dracaena Marginata

I suggest that adding plants to your home or office is a great way to improve the quality of the air and to make it a more pleasant place to live and work.

Health Concerns: People feel better, perform better and enjoy life more.


Jeff Davis is the Go Green Guy and until next time, he says, “Do your family a favor, get some indoor plants and breathe deeper, enjoy a greener healthier home!” Follow him @thegogreenguy and be sure to like his Facebook page.


Editor: Sara McKeown

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