Our Homes are Full of Toxins
Ninety percent of the toxins in our homes’ air come from indoor pollutants: chemicals released during cooking, cleaning products, or simply through air’s absorption of molecules released from materials normally resident in plastics and other synthetic materials.
The big three of most concern are benzene, formaldehyde, and tricholorethylene. These and other chemicals are known to cause cancer, respiratory ailments (including asthma), allergies, and autoimmune disorders. It would be a good thing to get them gone.
Many plants were examined to discover how effective they are at cleaning these chemicals from indoor air. The top twenty-five follow. Houseplants are not only practical but pretty, bringing a little green to your home even in the middle of winter. Most require very little care to flourish–and we all love to watch things grow.
Before you go running to the local nursery, consider the following:
- For optimal natural filtration, one 10-12 inch potted plant per one hundred square feet is recommended.
- Decide where you will put your plants; some require more sun than others.
- Keep a calendar of watering schedules if you need to remind yourself. Most plants will come with care instructions.
- Dust the leaves of the plants so they can breathe.
- Nourish plants’ soil with organic plant food or compost when indicated.
- Use rainwater to hydrate your plants; the chemicals in municipal water affect them, too.
- Some plants are toxic if ingested–if you have small children and/or pets, keep this in mind when placing them throughout your home.
1. Aloe Vera (aloe barbadensis)
Good at removing formaldehyde. A good topical first aid for burns, it has huge nutritional benefits as well, including the treatment of ulcers and cancer due to high antioxidant properties.
Because it is a succulent, it requires a lot of sun and little water.
2. Areca Palm (chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
Great general air purifier.
Prefers partial sun and well-drained soil. Moderately drought-tolerant (for those of us who sometimes forget to water).
3. Baby Rubber Plant (peperomia obtusifolia or ficus robusta)
Emits a high volume of oxygen and removes environmental toxins.
Does well in filtered light, occasional watering, and rich soil. (Another good one for those who may have a tendency to neglect watering.) This plant can grow quite large.