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Sorting through some paperwork the other day, I came across an article that I’d torn out of the paper, filed, and then forgotten about.

Did you know that having houseplants can help purify the air in your home?

‘Sick building syndrome’ is related to poor indoor air quality. New buildings especially seem to be subject to this, thanks to a buildup of VOC (volatile organic compounds) in many cleaning products, build up of moulds, and a lack of fresh air being exchanged for the stale air indoors. Energy efficient new buildings are no longer drafty, cold and wasteful on heating, but they don’t allow a free exchange of air through the building.

In studies conducted for NASA, the houseplants Clorophytum elatum var. vittatum (otherwise known as the spider plant),Scindapsus aureus (known as devil’s ivy), and Syngonium podophyllum (otherwise known as the arrowhead vine) were found to reduce formaldehyde concentrations in the laboratory.

Gerbera Daisies and Chrysanthemums were found to be effective in the removal of benzene, a known carcinogen.

Getting lots of fresh air through your house will help to alleviate sick building syndrome, as will using natural household cleaning products with low VOCs. My mother used to have plants all over her house, and although I’ve got a big vegie patch, indoor plants are not really where my gardening heart lies.

After doing some further research, however, I’m completely won over by houseplants. Choosing the right houseplants will help to purify and renew our stale indoor air by filtering out toxins, pollutants and the carbon dioxide we exhale, and replace all these nasties with life sustaining oxygen.

The rule of thumb seems to be one houseplant for every 10 square metres of living area. The healthier the plant, the more air it will filter.

Do you have any air purifying house plants at your place?

Source: http://www.ssc.nasa.gov/environmental/docforms/water_research/water_research.html

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