There’s nothing quite like the scent of forest air – the real thing, not an air freshener.
While some of that lovely earthy scent is due to decomposition, the trees and plants of a forest are constantly circulating oxygen and carbon dioxide, unlike in the midst of a concrete jungle when the air we breathe can get somewhat stale or downright poisonous.
Our homes aren’t an oasis from our toxic modern environment either. The inside of our houses can have very poor air quality due to fumesÂ from cigarette smoke, furnishings, paint and other items. Some items can give off these fumes for many years – that smell of fresh paint and new carpets isn’t just potentially harmful just while you can detect it.
The airborne chemical cocktail inside our home often includes:
- Benzene – used in oils, paints, plastic, rubber
- Trichloroethylene (TCE) – paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives
- Formaldehyde – foam, clothing, particle board, carpets.
All of the above have been shown to be potent environmentalÂ pollutants and likely carcinogens in humans.
New homes can be particularly bad for formaldehyde – it might be at many times the generally considered safe level for quite some time. Office air can also be saturated by a fog of toxins due to the type of furnishings and floor coverings often used on commercial premises.
Keeping indoor plants not only adds a nice green touch to our homes; some indoor plant species have proven to be effective filters forÂ pollutants such as the above and carbon monoxide (an element of car exhaust).
A while back, I came across a couple of very interesting studies by NASA carried out in the late 80′s and early 90′s that included information on the plants NASA found useful as indoor air filters to combat these chemicals.
Beneficial plants include (scientific name followed by common):
- Aloe vera
- Aglaonema Modestum – Chinese Evergreen
- Chamaedorea Seifritzii – Bamboo Palm
- Chlorophytum elatum – Green Spider Plant
- Chrysanthemum morifolium – Pot Mum/Florists’ Chrysanthemum
- Dracaena Janet Craig – Janet Craig
- Dracaena Marginata â€“ Marginata
- Dracaena Massangeana – Mass cane/Corn Plant
- Dracaena Warneckii – Warneckii
- Gerbera Jamesonii – Gerbera Daisy/African daisy
- Hedera Helix -Â English Ivy/Common Ivy
- Philodendron Domesticum – Elephant Ear Philodendron
- Philodendron Oxycardium – Heart Leaf Philodendron
- Philodendron Selloum – Lacy Tree Philodendron
- Sansevieria LaurentiiÂ – Mother in law’s tongue
- Scindapsus aureus – Golden Pothos
- Spathiphyllum Mauna Loa -Â Peace Lily/Mauna Loa
Some of the above are more effective than others at filtering particular chemicals, so if you’d like to learn more about the NASA research, here’s the study:Â Interior Landscape Plants For Indoor Air Pollution Abatement
Indoor plants don’t just look great – they can help make your house or office a more healthy place to live and work in!