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Did you know that many houseplants filter harmful household pollutants from stale, indoor air?
Our space program has led the way to a fascinating and important discovery about the role of houseplants indoors. NASA has been researching methods of cleansing the atmosphere in future space stations to keep them fit for human habitation over extended periods of time. They've found that many common houseplants and blooming potted plants help fight pollution indoors.
Plant physiologists already knew that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of the photosynthetic process. Now researchers have found many common houseplants absorb benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene as well.
Some houseplants are better at removing formaldehyde from the air, while others do a better job on benzene. Overall, there are enough known plants that do a good job of removing pollutants from the air we breathe to cause us to view houseplants as more than just an attractive feature in decorating interior environments.
Newer buildings are constructed largely with man-made building materials and furnished with synthetic carpeting, fabrics, laminated counters, plastic coated wallpaper, and other materials known to "off-gas" pollutants into the interior environment.
The advent of the "energy crisis" has increased the problems associated with indoor pollutants. Newly constructed buildings are better insulated and sealed tightly to conserve heat or air-conditioning. While it does save both money and energy, this new found efficiency has its downside in that more pollutants may be trapped indoors.
If your home is old enough to be leaky and drafty, you may not need to worry but if you live or work in a newer, energy-efficient building the liberal use of houseplants seems like an easy way to help make a dent in the indoor pollution problem. The NASA studies generated the recommendation to use 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants (6 to 8-inch diameter containers) to improve air quality in an average 1,800 square foot house.
Following is a brief list of plants found to be most effective in removing indoor air pollutants: Ficus, English Ivy, Spider Plant, Golden Pothos, Peace Lily, Chinese Evergreen, Bamboo Palm, Snake Plant, Philodendron, Dracaena and ZZ Plant.
Getting healthy with houseplants can be as easy on the eyes as it is on your health. Utilize local gardening professionals to select plants best suited to your specific home or office environments.
Now get out there and clean up your act and decorate your home or office with a few air cleansing, tropical plants.