Indoor air pollution ranks among the top environmental risks to public health. People can spend up to 90% of their time inside so the quality of indoor air matters. Stale air with little movement or ventilation can allow toxins to build up. Breathing inside air with higher concentrations of pollutants leads to Sick Building Syndrome which causes a variety of symptoms including allergies, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, nausea and eye, ear and throat irritation. Furniture, upholstery, carpeting, paint, synthetic building materials, plastics, vinyl, office machinery and cleaning compounds can emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) like benzene, formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, toluene and xylene.
NASA’s space-age solution is something very earthy and green. Scientists at NASA have found that plants can clean the air in a couple of ways: toxic particles are taken in during photosynthesis and microorganisms present in the soil absorb VOCs and convert them into food for the plant. A pot or more of green in a room not only scrubs the air but will further improve air quality by producing or ‘adding’ oxygen, while taking in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. This gas exchange makes plants naturally great roommates for people.
There are plants in so many shapes and sizes, for every taste in decor and lighting situation.
Here are a few super cleaners we can suggest:
In a bright, natural, indirect light situation try these: exotic phalaenopsis orchid or anthurium, robust rubber plant, graceful palm, hearty English ivy or the forgiving family of aloes.
Here are a few that will tolerate a lower but indirect light: Chinese evergreen, philodendron, pothos and the following powerhouses of purifiers: peace lily, the dracaena family (d. marginata, corn plant, d. Janet Craig, d. warneckii) and terrifically tough sansevierias.