Eco Home Living dracaena-deremnsis

Published on September 26th, 2011 | by Sonya Kanelstrand


10 Houseplants That Clean Indoor Air

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With the advance of Autumn the time we spend indoors grows by leaps. But the air at home or in the office is very often saturated with pollutants we don’t even think about. Although there are many toxins depending on the floor and counter-tops covering, the insulation, the carpets and fabrics, or simply the cleaning detergents we use, the 3 main chemicals most commonly met in our homes are:

  • Formaldehyde – a colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odor. It is an important precursor to many other chemical compounds, especially for polymers. Because of its widespread use, toxicity and volatility, exposure to formaldehyde is a significant consideration for human health. Formaldehyde is officially described by the US National Toxicology Program as “known to be a human carcinogen”. It can be found in foam insulation and pressed wood products used for the production of office furniture. It is also present in paper products such as waxed paper, paper towels, facial tissues, even grocery bags.
  • Trichloroethylenes – a clear non-flammable liquid with a sweet smell mostly found in adhesives, paints, dyes, printing inks, as well as in industrial solvents and therefore used widely in the dry cleaning industry. Beyond the effects to the central nervous system, exposure to trichloroethylene has been associated with toxic effects in the liver and kidney. The symptoms are similar to those of alcohol intoxication – headache, dizziness and  unconsciousness.
  • Benzene – a component of solvents, which is present in synthetic rubber, plastic, inks, paints and is used in the manufacture of detergents, pharmaceuticals, and dyes. It targets the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys and liver. Benzene is linked to cancer, anemia, leukemia, and bone marrow abnormalities. The short-term breathing of high levels of benzene may result in death while low levels can cause drowsiness, dizziness, rapid heart rate, headaches, tremors, and unconsciousness.

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, a number of green and flowering houseplants play an important role in cleaning the air we breath and can remove toxic chemicals from the air indoors.

So, prepare some pots for detoxing houseplants’ arrival!

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About the Author

Sonya is a photographer and a creative artist sharing her Scandinavian experiences. Her blog Kanelstrand Organic Living has become the meeting point of a vibrant green community of eco-conscious artists and crafters from around the world. Sonya believes that people and nature can co-exist together in a healthy and inspiring union without harming each other. She implements the knowledge gained from studying Philology and Pedagogy in her approach to sustainable and eco-friendly living.

  • Deb Cooper-Asberry (@michemozaix)

    Great post… and great excuse to bring more plants into the house!

    • Karen Lee

      Greening your life indoors (literally and figuratively) is definitely easier than we think. :)

  • Kathryn Grace

    Excellent list! I especially appreciated the information on the types of toxins some of the plants clear.

    • Karen Lee

      One of the easiest ways to be “Green”, literally!

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