Indoor plants to clear your air

By Kelly Jirsa

Indoor plants to clear your air
NASA has identified indoor plants that not only look lovely and brighten up your home, but are also hard working air purifiers.

NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) conducted a Clean Air Study in 1989, confirming a list of common indoor plants that clean the air by removing toxic agents.

NASA researchers carried out the study in order to find plants that could ensure good air quality on space stations. Most of the plants listed are from tropical environments where low or dappled light is common, meaning those with very little nature light in their houses or apartments can still grow these handy helpful plants.

Prolonged or extreme exposure to toxic agents or chemicals, commonly found in exhaust, cigarette smoke and by products of industry, causes increased risk of cancer and other illnesses. The plants in the study were tested for their ability to clear toxic agents of most concern for indoor environments such as:

Benzene – effects include irritation to eyes, headaches, increased heart rate, and in extreme cases unconsciousness.

Formaldehyde – nose, mouth and throat irritation and in extreme cases inflammation of the throat and lungs.

Trichloroethylene – effects include dizziness, headache, nausea and vomiting.

Ammonia – effects include irritation of the eyes, coughing and sore throat.

Xylene – effects include irritation to mouth and throat, dizziness, headache, heart problems, and in extreme cases liver and kidney damage.

Each plant listed by NASA has a combination of skills to neutralise airborne chemicals. Some of these combat one or two chemicals, where as one combats all five identified pollutants: the humble Florist’s chrysanthemum.

Peace Lily Florist’s Chrysanthemum Red-edged Dracaena
Broadleaf Lady Palm Barberton Daisy Cornstalk Dracaena
English Ivy Snake Plant Bamboo Palm
Weeping Fig Devil’s Ivy Flamingo Lily
Lily Turf Dwarf Date Palm Boston Fern
Kimberley Queen Fern Spider Plant Chinese Evergreen

NASA recommends at least one plant per approximately 9 square meters for optimal air filtering.

Important note: If you have pets be sure to check that the plants you choose are not toxic to animals.



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