Posted By: Michelle Kuehler /
Flu season has arrived, along with a variety of other ailments. To avoid getting sick, wash your hands, take your vitamins, keep your body healthy through proper exercise and diet and…always have a plant nearby. Not only are houseplants beautiful but they can help to ward off illnesses as well, by purifying the air of nasty chemicals and pollution from the everyday products that are used in our homes and offices.
Common chemicals found in the home and office are Benzene, Formaldehyde and Trichloroethylene. Benzene is commonly used as a solvent in gasoline, inks, oils, paint, plastic and rubber and in the manufacturing of detergents, pharmaceuticals and dyes. Formaldehyde is found in almost all indoor environments including, urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, particle board, pressed-wood products, paper products including grocery bags, wax paper, facial tissue, paper towels and in many cleaning products. Trichloroethylene is used in some printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives.
The Environmental Protection Agency has found that employees are gaining in the number of sicknesses, per year, due to the modern, air-tight architecture which may be locking these pollutants in, as well as germs. In what the EPA calls ‘sick buildings’, an estimated loss of $61 billion a year in employee absenteeism, medical costs, reduced productivity, and lower earnings occurs due to these pollutants and germs.
Fortunately, NASA performed a study to see if indoor plants would make a difference in the number of pollutants that were present in the air. The studies found that one potted plant per 100 square feet of floor space can help clean the air in the average home or office.
The Gerbera daisy was found to significantly reduce the air of Trichloroethylene and Benzene, while Dracaena and Dracaena Marginata were found to significantly reduce concentrations of Trichloroethylene and Formaldehyde in the air. The Peace Lilly and Bamboo Palm significantly reduced all three pollutants.