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Houseplants Remove Air Pollutants

Tuesday, 20 September 2016 12:34 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In the movie "Little Shop of Horrors," Audrey II is a blood-thirsty, alien houseplant that devours humans to satisfy "her" desire to take over the planet.

And although the potted plant manages to clear the air of some bad guys — flowershop owner Mr. Mushnick (Vincent Gardenia) and sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin) — she's clearly not the sort of greenery you'd want on your windowsill.

Fortunately, according a paper presented at the recent American Chemical Society national meeting, there are houseplants that safely can clear the air of undesirables, particularly VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are a big source of pollutants in homes and offices.

VOCs are released from actively used and stored paints, cleaning and disinfecting products, cosmetics, pesticides, copiers and printers, permanent markers, glues, fuels, dry-cleaned clothing and more.

These pollutants can trigger eye, nose and throat irritation, asthma, allergies, headaches, dizziness, nausea, liver and kidney damage, and are suspected of causing cancer.

When researchers tested the VOC-vanquishing powers of houseplants, they found jade, spider, bromeliad, dracena and Caribbean tree cactus plants scrubbed the air of VOCs as (or more) effectively than air filters.

They all reduced air levels of acetone, with the dracaena filtering out a whopping 94 percent.

The jade plant was best against toluene. Bromeliads cleared out more than 80 percent of six of the eight VOCs tested.

Head researcher Vadoud Niri, Ph.D. recommends an indoor garden that includes all five plants to make sure you clear the air most effectively.

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There are houseplants that safely can clear the air of volatile organic compounds, which are a big source of pollutants in homes and offices.
pollution, houseplants, cancer, Dr. Oz
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 12:34 PM
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