(with technical assistance from our partners at Prism Analytical Technologies)
Winter is a time when we all close our doors and windows, crank up the furnace and gather our family around the fireplace. Unfortunately, winter is also a time for drastic reductions in indoor air quality. No one wants to think about the air in our homes being bad for our health, but the facts speak otherwise. Contemporary furnishings, finishes and materials all use chemicals that are not great for our family to breath. Having windows open in the summer can successfully mitigate the issue, but what do we do when we enter heating season?
Not everyone was born with a green thumb and a knack for taking care of houseplants. Thankfully, there are several popular plants that require very little maintenance to thrive indoors. One of the easiest and most natural ways you can combat indoor air pollution is by purchasing several of these low maintenance houseplants and placing them in various rooms throughout your home; these five plants are easy to care for and will work around the clock to help clean your home air by removing toxic pollutants.
Spider plants have a reputation for being easy to maintain. They also are great at removing formaldehyde, which is one of the most commonly found indoor air pollutants. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen; it can cause nasal and eye irritation, increased risk of asthma and allergies, and neurological effects. It is found in numerous household products such as paint, drywall, adhesives, cosmetics, disinfectants, wood laminate flooring and furniture, and cigarette smoke.
Peace lilies are another hardy plant effective in removing formaldehyde from the air, along with the chemical benzene. Benzene is commonly found in exhaust from vehicles, detergents, cigarette smoke, building materials and furniture, as well as heating and cooking systems. Exposure to small levels of benzene may cause dizziness, headaches, confusion, and unconsciousness. Benzene is also considered to be a known carcinogen.
Boston ferns help filter out formaldehyde and xylene from the air. Xylene is a poisonous solvent used in paints, nail polish, lacquers, adhesives, rust preventers, thinners, gasoline, and permanent magic markers. Exposure to this chemical may cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and throat irritation. Long term exposure or exposure to larger amounts can result in liver damage, unconsciousness, and respiratory failure.
Snake plants are another low maintenance plant. They are effective in removing formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, and trichloroethylene from your indoor air. Trichloroethylene can be found in wood stains, varnishes, finishes, lubricants, adhesives, paint removers, degreasers, and cleaners. It is a known carcinogen that may cause genetic defects and central nervous system damage. Exposure to lesser amounts of this chemical may cause throat irritation, headache, nausea, dizziness, and confusion.
Bamboo palms require minimal sunlight and water but will grow larger when placed in direct sunlight. They have been proven to successfully remove formaldehyde, xylene, and trichloroethylene from the air.
Don’t let what you can’t see in your air keep you up at night worrying; bringing these plants into your home can make a real difference. And if you want to better understand what is specifically in the air of your home, give us a call. Working with Prism lab, we can help analyze it and give you hard data that you can use to better understand your home.
We hope you have a safe and wonderful winter season!