| It's Good to Know: How to Combat Indoor Air Pollution |
You think of your home as a haven from the smoggy, exhaust-filled outside world. But your home isn't as pristine as you might think. There's a good chance that the air inside your "haven" is contaminated with everything from asbestos and pesticides to detergent fumes, carpet fibers, mold, and tobacco smoke.
The worst part? Prolonged exposure to these toxins can cause serious health problems like asthma, humidifier fever, and Legionnaires' disease. One way to fight this pollution is to fill your home with air-cleaning plants.
In a NASA study, scientists found that "houseplants can purify and revitalize air in our homes and offices, protecting us from the negative effects of such common toxins as ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene."
Plants absorb airborne toxins through their leaves, effectively keeping them away from our noses and lungs. Large-leaved plants are best at reducing pollutants in the air, and have the added benefit of increasing humidity levels (which can help respiratory conditions and allergies).
According to a recent issue of Organic Gardening, the 10 plants best at cleansing the air are: areca palm, red palm, dwarf date palm, Boston fern, pothos, English ivy, Australian sword fern, peace lily, rubber plant, and weeping fig.
For best results, OG advises that you set up two or three plants in each room, making sure each one has plenty of space to allow for prime air circulation.
For more ways to combat indoor air pollution, check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at http://www.epa.gov/iaq.