FACT: Ninety two percent of the world’s population breathes dirty air!
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released an air quality model to show that more than 9 in 10 people live in areas that have unsafe levels of air pollution.
Check out this interactive map to see if where you live falls within these pollution zones!
With scary statistics like these, it’s clear (no pun intended) that the air most of us breathe is not as pure as it should be.
To make matters worse, with increasing WIFI and wireless technologies, Electromagnetic Field Radiation is also on the rise. Although this form of air pollution is invisible to the naked eye, it can have very real impacts on our health.
And while we can’t control what’s happening to the quality of our air on a global scale, we can take individual measures to make a difference in our personal environments.
So today I’d like to introduce you to a simple, elegant solution to purify the air in your home.
It all starts with a humble houseplant…
Why Does The Air Quality In Your Home Matter?
If the Environmental Protection Agency is to be believed, the air within your home is often 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside!
I can almost hear you thinking, ‘But doesn’t air pollution come from cars and traffic? Like, err.. outside?’
Absolutely! But air pollution also comes from more hidden, insidious sources indoors too. Often you can’t even smell it, so air toxicity is not always detectable to the human senses.
The air in our homes can be polluted by toxic gases that are released from common, everyday household items such as cleaning agents, cement, paint and particleboard. The widespread use of home insulation also means that once these gases are released, they are more likely to be trapped within your walls.
This can cause a whole host of unpleasant side effects, such as:
- Memory and cognitive issues,
- Respiratory problems,
- Skin complaints,
- Irritated eyes,
- Allergic reactions.
As most people spend 90% of their time indoors, the quality of the air we breathe inside can really affect our health.
Enter Solution… Houseplants Can Help To Clean The Air In Your Home!
Scientists have known for a long time that plants can draw pollution from air, leaving a purer, cleaner atmosphere for us to breathe.
This filtering happens in the leaves of the plants and via the microorganisms that inhabit the associated soil.
Researchers have investigated the air filtering properties of plants, and what they’ve discovered is that different types of plants are capable of filtering different types of air pollutants.
As an added bonus, a mini ‘garden in your home’ can also help to clear some of the EMFR from your living space. This is a big reason we chose to fill our Food Matters HQ with beautiful indoor plants! We work with computers a lot and therefore wanted to include lots of grounding, EMFR-clearing green space.
Read on to find out some of the best air-purifying houseplants - plus, the chemicals they can clear out of the atmosphere for you!
The Best Plants To Clean The Air In Your Home
Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)
Who couldn’t feel happier and healthier with a bright pot of flowers in their home? This plant might be a little higher maintenance (needing lots of sunlight and well-drained earth), however it’s famed for its ability to filter out benzene and trichlorethylene from the air.
Good For: Removing airborne chemicals that are released from inks and dry cleaning.
Spider Plant (Chlorophytum Comosum)
This long-leafed ornamental plant has a high-performance rate of removing 80% of p-Xylenes, o-Xylene and ethylbenzene from the air! And the good news for all ‘black thumbs’ is that this species is super resilient and requires very little maintenance.
Good For: Removing the chemicals that are released into the air from artificial rubbers, pesticides, paint, paint thinners and ink. It grows best in cool to average temperatures and likes dry feet. Super easy to care for!
This lovely broad-leafed plant is excellent at filtering out six types of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).VOCs are a group of chemicals associated with a number of negative health effects. According to one study, it can filter up to 80% of these chemicals from the air in just 12 hours!
Good For: Clearing away the toxic chemicals that are released from paraffin candles and car exhaust fumes.
A plant that is especially good at clearing away the strong, toxic fumes from nail polish remover. It can also clear acetone that is released from other common household items.
Good For: Sucking up the toxic acetone released from nail polishes, nail polish removers and other household items.
Lucky Bamboo (Bamboo Palm)
With a reputation for clearing away benzene and trichloroethylene - and a namesake of being lucky - this stylish plant is very low maintenance and lovely to behold. Plus, it’s believed to help put moisture back into the atmosphere, which is great for air-conditioned homes!
Also called the ‘friendship tree’. (Awww….)
It can clear over 90 percent of toluene from the air!
Is there anything more you could want? (Plus it’s super cute!)
This succulent has been used for thousands of years as a laxative and natural antidote to skin burns. In the modern world, in turns out that this lovely succulent also clears a couple of common pollutants from the atmosphere.
Good For: Clearing benzene and formaldehyde from the air.
This is another great option for those of us who aren’t mad-keen gardeners! Peace lilies are relatively easy to grow indoors and require very little TLC.
Good For: Removing formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzenes and ammonia from the air.
It’s also important to consider the quality of potting mix and materials that accompany your plants. Store plants in clay or non-toxic containers, use organic soil and keep clear of using any artificial fertilizers and sprays.
With a few small investments in these beautiful plants, you can truly spruce up the air (and as a bonus, the decor!) in your home.