Living in this day and age is surely not without its benefits. But one of the difficulties that the ever-increasing urbanization that has brought with it the environmental impact it has had.
Apart from the usual noise pollution, the continuing expansion of our cities and homes has certainly made the quality of life much less natural. The increasing number of machines, cars and buildings, the air that we breathe in is not of the same quality as that of say the countryside. Air pollution is one of the major issues facing your home today. It’s not just when you walk outside and see the smog possibly laying over your cityscape, its your home that you should be concerned about. Over the past several years, the Environmental Protection Agency has consistently ranked indoor air pollution as one of the most concerning environmental dangers we all face daily. This is primarily because the sources of pollution are everywhere in our home. In fact, the EPA estimates that our indoor air has nearly 5x as much pollutants than outdoor air.Small things most people do on a daily basis can quickly lead to a dramatic deterioration in indoor air quality. Hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals are admitted or released by household cleaning agents, personal care products, paint, and solvents used on a regular basis. These chemicals have been tied to causing dizziness, allergic reactions, skin irritation, cancer, and nausea.
Small things people do on a daily basis can quickly lead to dramatic deterioration in indoor air quality. Hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals are admitted or released by household cleaning agents, personal care products, candles, air fresheners, paint, and solvents used on a regular basis. These chemicals have been tied to causing dizziness, allergic reactions, skin irritation, cancer, and nausea.
So what exactly is polluting our Home?
Radon – An invisible, radioactive gas. Radon may be found in certain rock formations underneath your home and in some building materials.
Smoke – Not only second-hand cigarette smoke but also smoke from fireplaces, stoves and cooking fires.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – Toxic gasses that are emitted from certain solids or liquids. VOCs can be found in a long list of common household products including paints, varnishes, paint removers, cleaning products, building materials, glues, adhesives and office equipment such as printers and copiers.
Formaldehyde -Formaldehyde is invisible, but has a distinctive pungent smell. Common sources of formaldehyde in the home include glues, environmental tobacco smoke, and textiles such as durable press drapes. But the top source of formaldehyde in most people’s homes is the presence of pressed wood
Carbon Monoxide – A colorless, odorless gas that results from the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon monoxide can be emitted from cigarettes, defective furnaces and other heating devices as well as from automobiles
Asbestos – Particles found in building materials used before 1975 that are harmful when inhaled into the lungs. Asbestos continues to be a concern in many older buildings.
It is obvious, that since we need air for oxygen, thus we are breathing in air which is filled with pollutants – doesn;t seem right does it? But how on earth can you change that? Well, the answer lies in something that can be easily obtained and maintained. It is none other than using indoor plants. Although houseplants may be intimidating to those with a “black thumb” or fear of commitment, it turns out that many plants are easy to care for—so easy, in fact, you’d have to try pretty hard to kill them. Below, we’ve pulled together a list of five virtually indestructible plants inspired by NASA’s research. I say virtually because truth is I have killed at least one of every kind of plant I have ever owned.
Plants to purify air
Most of us may already be familiar with the benefits that plants offer us. Their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and release fresh oxygen into the air is something most of us learned in 4th grade.
However, this may not be the only thing that plants do for us. There are a number of other advantages of keeping plants in our houses.
To begin with, when kept in pots, these plants attract microorganisms that play a vital role in cleaning up the environment in which they are present.
Secondly, plants not only absorb carbon dioxide but also take in other compounds that may be present in the air at the same time. This means that the air in our houses is constantly cleaned and does not remain stagnant. Lastly, plants naturally make us feel better. They are beautiful to look at, fun to talk to (yes i have been known to talk to mine) and add nature and warmth into your living space.
What plants to use?
Bostern Fern performs incredibly well when it comes to purifying the air from a compound known as formaldehyde. It is an industrial compound that can pose major health risks if not removed from the air.
The plant also absorbs benzene and xylene which are commonly found in the exhaust fumes of gasoline cars. As such, these plants are very effective in purifying the air from some very harmful compounds.
Very easy to maintain and to look after, palm trees are very effective in removing a number of air pollutants. They are also very efficient in absorbing formaldehyde.
Palm trees have a lot of variety as well. You may use the Lady Palm or the Parlor Palm to clean up the indoor air.
English Ivy – My personal fav!
English Ivy is a plant that is usually not the first choice of preference when it comes to growing them outside your house. This is because it is a climbing plant that can cause a lot of damage to your house.
However, as an indoor plant, English Ivy is an exceptionally effective plant as it does not need much sun to grow and can use any structure in your house to climb upon. I actually have one in a vintage birdcage. It looks greats and I always get compliments.
With elegantly shaped long leaves, the Dracaena is an excellent plant when it comes to removing compounds like trichloroethylene. They require little sunlight and therefore they are easy to maintain.
Dragon Tree – Coolest sounding!
As fancy as the name, Dragon Tree is quite common in houses and offices alike. The plant can easily absorb chemicals emitted from car exhaust fumes and cigarettes and house paints. They require little maintenance and can be used as a decorative item.
So head to your local nursery and pick up some plants. Pick out some nice pots to put them in or paint your own. Name them, water them and love them … then take a deep clean breath of air. I would also highly suggest getting an air purifier especially if anyone in your home also suffers from allergies. This one is currently on my WishList due to its additional environmental filtering. It’s the Mercedez Benz of Air purifiers as this one targets Formaldehyde too but I can;t honestly say I have used it. Just researched it :
This is the one I have. I have been very happy with it. I have been through several air purifiers over the years and this one works great and stands the test of time:
Do you have any indoor plants you love? Anything else you do to help keep down your indoor home pollution? Let me know in the comments!