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5 Common Houseplants That Clean the Air for a Healthier Home
We breathe 10 to 20 thousand liters of air per day. With this much air going in and out of our lungs every second, it is vital to make sure we are breathing in good air all day.
We are so used to hearing the expression “go out and get some fresh air," but why not bring some of that fresh air inside? Or better yet, create it inside. And not just any air. But air that can actually remove toxic gases and chemicals from your home environment. That's correct—air that can actually remove VOC's including formaldehyde and benzene.
Listen to this Green Divas' segment about creating a better indoor environment for your healthy home:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America released the findings of a 2-year study suggesting that in addition to what some plant physiologists already knew, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as part of the photosynthetic process.
As you may know, plants directly absorb carbon in their life-dependent process, photosynthesis. By taking in carbon dioxide and converting it to oxygen during photosynthesis, plants and trees naturally remove excess carbon from the air. During photosynthesis, foliage also removes from the atmosphere other chemicals, such as nitrogen oxides, airborne ammonia, some sulfur dioxide and ozone that are part of the smog and greenhouse effect problems. Plants also affect air quality by acting as collection sites for dust and other air particles. So, by adding plants to your environment, you are cleaning up your indoor air and helping the planet.
In addition, these researchers, including Dr. Bill Wolverton, formerly a senior research scientist at NASA, have found many common houseplants absorb benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. In the NASA study, each plant type was placed in sealed, Plexiglas chambers in which chemicals were injected. The results surprised everyone.
“Plants take substances out of the air through the tiny openings in their leaves," according to Wolverton. “But research in their labs has determined that plant leaves, roots and soil bacteria are all important in removing trace levels of toxic vapors."
Did you know that one potted plant per 100 square feet will clean the air in an average office? Although not a replacement for an air purifier, NASA says that 15 to 18 good-sized plants in 6 to 8-inch diameter containers will improve air quality in an average 1,800 space. But, not just any plant, there's a certain 50 plants that work the best.
The top 10 list can be found in the Just GREEN It! book. But, here are the top five plants that are most effective in removing formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide from the air, according to the study.
1. Areca Palm
2. Lady Palm
3. Bamboo Palm
4. Rubber Plant
5. Dracaena “Janet Craig"
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jared Kaufman
Eating a better diet has been linked with lower levels of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. But unfortunately 821 million people — about 1 in 9 worldwide — face hunger, and roughly 2 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, according to the U.N. World Health Organization. In addition, food insecurity is associated with even higher health care costs in the U.S., particularly among older people. To help direct worldwide focus toward solving these issues, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of hunger, food insecurity and undernutrition by 2030.
mevans / E+ / Getty Images
Calls for Radical Climate Action Grow Louder as NOAA Reports Last Month Was Hottest June Ever Recorded
By Jessica Corbett
As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.
By John R. Platt
For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.
Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.