Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Green Air Filters

Plants are remarkable organisms in their own right, are they not? Using the complex system of photosynthesis, they convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into energy and oxygen. In a way, we have a symbiotic relationship with them since we release carbon dioxide and take in oxygen.

But there’s more to the benefits of plants than just feeding us with air and food. In the 1980’s, researchers from NASA studied the ability of houseplants to remove toxic chemicals from the air in controlled environments. Three of the compounds commonly found in our indoor air are benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. They’re found in office equipment and furnishings, building and cleaning materials and can off-gas into the indoor surroundings.

The symptoms from various levels of exposure to these compounds range from itchy eyes, drowsiness, asthma, dizziness, headaches and more severe reactions including liver and kidney damage, paralysis, and some cancers. You can read one of the studies here.

Several houseplants were analyzed for their ability to remove these chemicals from the air in sealed chambers. Those found in the list below were some of the best at doing this:

1. Dragon tree

2. Peace lily

3. English ivy

4. Pothos

5. Dragon tree

6. Janet Craig

7. Gerber daisy

8. Pot mum

So think about the benefits of having houseplants:

- they add color and life to the environment

- they provide oxygen

- they remove toxic chemicals from the air

From these three benefits alone, I would say that houseplants improve the quality of our lives in a very quiet and humble way.

I’d love to know, do you have plants in the home and do you think they’re making a difference??


  1. I would love to bring plants into my home, but one of my cats has a severe addiction problem! I cannot keep him away from greenery. I welcome suggestions!

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    I found this blog that talks about it. I like the idea of kitty grass and would definitely stay away from the moth balls! I hope this helps. Have a great weekend : )