Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

By Donna Westfall

Credit to The Grow Network, NASA and EPA

Spider plant
Spider plant

If you knew that putting a few houseplants around the room resulted in cleaner air, would you water it once in a while to keep it alive?

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, (NASA), there are more than 18 houseplants that help to purify the indoor air.

Having good air quality indoors was never so important as during the 1980’s when a phenomenon was eventually linked to poor indoor air quality and became known as “Sick Building Syndrome.” A common trend started to emerge across Europe, the United States and Canada in new buildings which had been built with energy efficiency in mind. The trend involved a number of symptoms seen in the people who worked in these buildings. Symptoms such as allergies, asthma, headaches, and loss of concentration were noted in person after person.

Poor indoor air quality has also been linked to health problems in children. Asthma has reached epidemic proportions among multiple age groups within the Western world and is considered the most common chronic disease in urban-dwelling youngsters.

There are three main household toxins of concern are:

  • Benzene
  • Formaldahyde
  • Trichloroethylene

These carcinogenic chemicals are used in the manufacturing of synthetic substances and materials and are off-gassed from new materials for some time (up to several years, depending on the material of product in question).

Much of the research on these beneficial houseplants has been done by NASA scientists researching ways to create suitable space station habitats. The role of gravity in plant growth and development was performed in 2010, 220 miles above the Earth.

Take BENZENE for example.  Commonly used to make plastics, resins and synthetic fibers, dyes, detergents, drugs and pesticides.  Also commonly found in tobacco smoke, glue, paint and furniture wax.

Some houseplants were found to be more beneficial than others in removing harmful household toxins, even removing 90% of chemicals in the air in only twenty-four hours!

For example, the Aloe Vera plant.

Aloe Vera Plant
Aloe Vera Plant

Known to remove FORMALDAHYDE from the air. Also, if you suffer a burn to your skin, you can slice a piece off and rub it on the burn.  It has very healing properties.

Where do you find formaldahyde?  It’s found in paper bags, waxed paper, facial tissues, paper towels, table napkins, particle board, plywood paneling and synthetic fabrics.



The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised their Hazard Study in January, 2000:

    “Acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) inhalation exposure to trichloroethylene can affect the human central nervous system (CNS), with symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, confusion, euphoria, facial numbness, and weakness.  Liver, kidney, immunological, endocrine, and developmental effects have also been reported in humans.  A recent analysis of available epidemiological studies reports trichloroethylene exposure to be associated with several types of cancers in humans, especially kidney, liver, cervix, and lymphatic system.   Animal studies have reported increases in lung, liver, kidney, and testicular tumors and lymphoma.  The Agency is currently reassessing the cancer classification of trichloroethylene.”
Bamboo Palm
Bamboo Palm

The Bamboo Palm is one of the best plants to clean out trichloroethylene.

So, not only do plants enhance the decor and aesthetics of your living space, but cleaning up the air quality is a huge added bonus.




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