Cure Indoor Air Pollution with Plants - NASA Study to Improve Air Quality
The EPA, NASA and Indoor Air Pollution
The EPA rates indoor air pollution as one of the top five threats to public health. Fortunately, NASA, in studies designed to find ways of improving indoor air quality in closed environments such as space capsules and space stations found a solution.
NASA learned that indoor plants were effective in removing the volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) emitted, or off gassed, from the synthetic materials used in the construction of the space capsules.
Due to a change in the composition of products commonly brought into our homes these same synthetic materials and fabricated wood products are major contributors to indoor air pollution in our homes. In addition, in the name of energy efficiency, our homes and offices have become more and more sealed environments.
NASA, Our Homes and Indoor Air Pollution
The result? Polluted air trapped in our homes. We now have the same indoor air pollution issues in our homes and offices that NASA faces with space capsules and space stations.
Dr Bill Wolverton, NASA research scientist, and author of the book “How to Grow Fresh Air—50 houseplants that purify your home or office” suggests the inclusion of 2-3 plants in 8-10 inch containers, for each 100 sq feet of living space to improve indoor air pollution problems.
Plants Improve Indoor Air Quality
Top Five Plants for Removing Indoor Air Pollution
Dr Wolverton’s top five recommendations, for ease of growth are:
Peace Lilyhas long dark green leaves and a unique white flower. It thrives in low light and breaks down benzene and trichloroethylene.
Areca Palm is an excellent air purifier. It removes acetone, formaldehyde and xylene from indoor air.
Lady Palm is very resistant to plant insects and will tolerate a wide range of indoor environments.
Ficus Alii is easy to grow, insect resistant and known for it's braided trunk. It is effective at filtering formaldehyde
Golden Pathos is a low growing vine that is very easy to grow. It removes benzene and formaldehyde from the air.
These five indoor plant species, not only clear toxins and improve indoor air quality, but they add healthy moisture to indoor air.
Next Top Five Plants for Removing Indoor Air Pollution
Rounding out the list to give Dr Wolverton’s top 10 recommendations for removing indoor air quality are:
Arrowhead Vine is a climber that removes formaldehyde, toluene, trichlorothylene and xylene from the surrounding atmosphere. Cuttings grow easily in a moist environment. Buy only one, and in no time you will have many plants.
Bamboo Palm adds moisture to dry air while removing benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde.
Dwarf Date Palm removes formaldehyde and xylene from surrounding indoor air.
Rubber Plant excels at removing formaldehyde, but be warned rubber plant leaves may be toxic.
English Ivy is tolerant of low light and irregular watering habits. It removes benzene, mold and feces from indoor air
For the Top 50 household plants for improving indoor air quality, purchase his book:
“How to Grow Fresh Air—50 houseplants that purify your home or office” from Amazon.
Some plant leaves are toxic, and the book provides alternate lists of plants that are safe around pets and small children.
Plants not only improve indoor air quality by removing chemical toxins that contribute to indoor air pollution, they have also been shown to reduce stress, raise humidity and filter dust from the air.
What they ask for in return is water and occasional fertilizing; but please, don’t compound indoor air pollution by using a chemical fertilizer!