Monday, January 20, 2014

Plants for Indoor Air Quality!

We spend 90% of our time indoors. According to the EPA, indoor pollutants may be 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels. Many traditional cleaning products, paints, building materials, and office equipment such as printers and markers emit fumes that may have adverse health effects. We previously blogged about "freeing" your home of harmful toxins. Another great way to reduce toxins is by adding plants into your home.

In the late 1980s, NASA conducted a study of how houseplants could improve indoor air quality. Many newer homes are designed for energy efficiency, thus are often tightly sealed. This reduces energy loss, but also traps toxic chemicals in the air. Here is how houseplants can come to the rescue. Many houseplants come from tropical environments with thick canopies and limited light levels. Thus these plants evolved to become very efficient at capturing light and processing gases.

Here are some varieties that are best at filtering:
English ivy
Spider plant
Peace lily
Snake plant (Mother-in-law tongue)

These plants not only produce oxygen and water vapor, but they absorb carbon dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde, and/or trichloroethylene (chemicals commonly found in building materials and cleaning supplies).

On a side note . . . has your home ever been tested for radon? Radon is an odorles, tastelss, invisible gas produced by the decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil and water. Radon moves from the ground into homes where it is then trapped.  It is the second leading cause of lung caner and the EPA recommend that all homes be tested (radon disclosure required for MN home sellers). Test kits can be found at hardware stores.


  1. Indoor air pollution, the degradation of indoor air quality by harmful chemicals and other materials, can be up to 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution.

    Indoor air quality testing

  2. Yikes! Indoor can be 10 times as worse than outdoor air!