If you live in a city, you can be sure that the air you breathe is less than pure.  What if the air in your home is even more polluted than the air outside?  Well sadly it probably is due to dangerous off-gases of building materials, toxic paints, cleaning products and carpets in your home.  These volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can cause nausea, fatigue, headaches, sore throats, coughs and dry skin.

Research was carried out in 1989 by NASA to look for ways to improve the air quality in space station habitats.  Plants were found to purify the indoor air through their process of photosynthesis.  Not only did they improve the quality of the air, they were also found to be very effective in removing harmful household toxins- “The studies have shown that upon initial installation, VOCs were removed within four to five days; any added VOCs (by addition of furniture, etc.) are removed within 24 hours. This shows that plants get better at processing VOCs.” says Joe Zazzera, president of Plant Solutions, Inc. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  has estimated that indoor air can be  two to five times more polluted than the air outside and extremely contaminated.

The toxins studied in the research were benzene (adhesives, detergents, tobacco smoke, plastics, paint, paint strippers, oils, synthetic fabrics and can also be omitted from gas cookers), formaldehyde (particle board, plywood, paneling, foam insulation, cleaning materials, some synthetic fabrics, shampoos, nail polish) and trichloroethylene (metal degreasing, dry-cleaning solvent, inks, varnishes, paints, adhesives).  So from this exhaustive list, you can be pretty sure some of these nasties are floating around your home.

The Fit Girl Guide to Improving the Air Quality in your home:

1Choose one 6-8inch or more plant, per 100 square foot.

2The following plants are deemed the most effective at purifying air quality: English Ivy, Peace Lily, Rubber Plant, Bamboo Palm, Spider Plant, Boston Fern, Areca Palm and Philodendron.

3For low-lit rooms try the Philodendron or Peace Lily – although plants do like light, most of these plants originated in the dense shade of tropical forests thus having a higher rate of photosynthesis.

4Check labels carefully for watering instructions and light/shade preferability of each plant.

5Ideally water with rainwater from outside if possible.


Image credit – finishboard.com