Indoor air pollutants are ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health. There are a wide variety of toxic chemicals lurking in your home – a common component of glues that hold pressed-wood or particleboard furniture and cabinets together, natural gas stoves, carpet glues, flooring glues, caulks, sealants, paints, furniture finishes, and the water- and stain-repellent finishes applied to upholstery and clothing. Stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants and common volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to build up and stick around in greater amounts that we breathe. EPA estimates that pollutants are present at 2 to 5 times a higher rate indoors than outdoors.
NASA Clean Air Study suggests that certain common indoor plants may provide a natural way of removing toxic agents such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, thus helps to neutralize the effects of sick building syndrome that can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and eye, ear, and nose irritation.
Plants absorb some of the particulates from the air at the same time that they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen that is released into the air through photosynthesis. It doesn’t end there — microorganisms associated with the plants are present in the potting soil, and these microbes ingest these and contributes to the cleaning effort. Houseplants goes beyond air quality. Green is a soothing color. They help to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Research also indicates that it helps to make people smarter by allowing them to stay alert and reduce mental fatigue.
This process of cleaning the air via houseplant is called “phytoremediation”. It is estimated that the presence of just 6 houseplants in a 1200- to 1500-square-foot home can reduce air-borne contaminants by as much as 75%. Try adding these wonderful houseplants to breathe easy and to add zen for the mind.