Protective Plants

Indoor Greenery Removes Airborne Toxins




antpkr/Shutterstock.com

Along with naturally beautifying a home, many indoor plants help purify air quality often contaminated by chemicals found in common household products and furnishings. A recent study by the State University of New York at Oswego found that bromeliads absorbed up to 80 percent of pollutants from volatile organic compounds (VOC) emitted by paint, furniture, printers, dry-cleaned clothes and other household products. Other plants that scored highly for purifying the air of VOCs in airtight container tests were dracaena and spider plants (ScienceAlert.com). In related news, peace lilies have been shown to be effective in reducing airborne ammonia.

NASA scientists have discovered that Boston fern, rubber plants, English ivy, devil’s ivy, peace lily, mum and gerbera daisies help clear the air of the formaldehyde often used in insulation, carpeting and particleboard furniture. (RodalesOrganicLife.com)

Environmental scientist B.C. Wolverton’s book How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office cites ferns as another good plant for removing formaldehyde from the home. Ferns are nontoxic, making them good indoor plants for pet owners per the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Indoor levels of formaldehyde can also be reduced by potting areca palm, amstel king ficus and weeping fig plants, according to MotherEarthLiving.com. The website also cites how dragon tree plants can help remove xylene (used in solvents), trichloroethylene (found primarily in adhesives) and toluene (a solvent and gasoline additive) from the air.

Beyond improving air quality, indoor plants also boost ambient oxygen levels, lower mold counts and serve as a natural humidifier and mood enhancer.


This article appears in the March 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Bringing Up Kitty

Adorable as new kittens are, they need the right conditions, from bedding to food to scratching surfaces—and a proper introduction to their new home—to thrive.

Loving Nature

In a time in which digital devices often rule, kids will happily head outdoors for adventures involving gardens, bugs and birds that spark their interest and creativity.

Potluck for the 21st Century

Using phone apps as well as workplace and neighborhood contacts, friends and strangers are coming together to share healthy, home-cooked meals.

Household Cleaning Products Affect Babies’ Guts and Weight

Canadian toddlers in households that used chemical disinfectants at least once a week had disturbed gut microbes and higher body mass index scores than toddlers in households that used vinegar or other eco-friendly cleaners.

Smoking Bans Lower Blood Pressure

Non-smokers in areas that have banned smoking in public space have lower systolic blood pressure.

Add your comment: