Do plants purify the air around you?
Houseplants aren’t just for decoration but can actually help purify the air in your home. A two-year study conducted by NASA in 1989 compiled a list of air filtering plants which contribute to living a less toxic life. In the study they found that indoor air pollution can be greatly mitigated by the introduction of these plants as they act as a natural air filter. They remove organic air pollutants such as: benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.
Why is air pollution bad for you?
Poor quality air can contribute to health problems in humans all over the world. These include lung and heart issues, coronary artery disease, emphysema, respiratory infections, stroke and cancer. Children and the elderly are particularly sensitive to air pollution. It can also be dangerous for pregnant women as it can contribute to birth defects. Air pollution is proven to also worsen present conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The list of plants below were determined to be the top 18 most effective at naturally filtering out indoor air pollutants.
Devil’s ivy, pothos plant (epopremnum aureum)
Peace lily (spathipyllum ‘mauna loa’)
Chinese evergreen (aglaonema modestum)
Bamboo palm (chamaedore seifrizii)
Variegated sanseviera ‘snake plant,’ (dracaena trifasciata ‘laurentii’)
Heartleaf philodendron (philodendron cordatum)
Selloum philodendron, lacy tree philodendron (philodendron bipinnatifidum)
Elephant ear philodendron (philodendron domesticum)
Red-edged dracaena, marginata (dracaena marginata)
Cornstalk dracaena (dracaena fragrans ‘massangeana’)
Weeping fig (ficus benhamina)
Barberton daisy, gerbera daisy (gerbera jamesonii)
Florist’s chrysanthemum, chrysanthemum morifolium)
Janet craig (dracaena deremensis)
Warneckii (dracaena deremensis)
Banana (musa Oriana)
PLEASE NOTE: Some of the listed plants may be poisonous for cats or dogs so before introducing them into your home, make sure to research which ones may be the most suitable.
Medical Disclaimer: Articles are intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. Ask a medical professional if you have any health-related questions or concerns.
Barandy, K. (2021). In search of fresh air: NASA lists the indoor plants that will naturally clean your space. https://www.designboom.com/technology/nasa-clean-air-study-plants-natural-filter-06-13-2021/
Krans, B. (2017). Air pollution: what are we breathing and how is it bad for us?https://www.healthline.com/health-news/air-pollution-what-are-we-breathing-and-how-bad-is-it-for-us-102115#
Love the Garden. (n.d.). NASA guide to air filtering house plants.https://www.eldercarehomehealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/nasa-guide-to-indoor-plants.pdf
Wolverton, B. C., Johnson, A., Bounds, K. (2013). Interior landscape plants for indoor air pollution abatement. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19930073077
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