Go Green.... Air Purification
Your Home Is Under Fire
There are many things within our very own homes that release potentially harmful pollutants into the air that we breathe. We assume that because we maintain a clean house that all is well,but we are very much mistaken. Most of us spend close to 90% of our lives in our homes. Our homes that have been well insulated against the elements with their painted walls, fire places, new appliances and furniture. These very things in our homes that bring us comfort can also unknowingly bring us toxins.
The very smells that may say new or fresh to your brain, could very well be off-gassing. Remember the last time that you went into a freshly painted room. Do you remember the smell of that fresh paint on your walls, well that smell is off-gassing. I always loved the smell of a new car, I guess that it was telling me that it was new, clean and fresh. I had no idea that the new car smell was actually gasses given off by my new car. It's because of this that you are told to paint in a well ventilated room or open the windows. Off-gassing takes place in enclosed environments (like our well insulated house or even our car), without proper ventilation these chemicals/gasses will become concentrated which could be harmful.
Off-gassing can also be very faint or odorless. A few of the household items that are guilty of this are:
- The mattress on your bed
- The new cabinets that you just had installed
- Your new counter-top
- Kid's toys
- Your computer
Unfortunately synthetic compounds are used in the manufacturing of many products that we buy or use. Off-gassing is the evaporation of those compounds. Natureneutral.com describes off-gassing as: "the evaporation of volatile chemicals in non-metallic materials at normal atmospheric pressure. This means that building materials can release chemicals into the air through evaporation. This evaporation can continue for years after the products are initially installed which means you continue to breathe these chemicals as you work, sleep and relax in your home or office".
In my research to find the potential long term damage of the off-gas that we are exposed to, I found that there are no answers as of yet.
One of the cheapest, most valuable gifts that you can give your family/house/self is house plants.House plants have the ability to absorb 90% of the harmful toxins that may be in your home.Research has shown that carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde can and will be greatly reduced within a twenty four hour period by using Spider Plants.Once again the very things that can help to rescue us from ourselves comes from the ground. We have known for a very long time that plants/trees convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. It seems so simple and in your face that we didn't see it.
NASA and ALCA
NASA and ALCA ( Associated Landscape Contractors of America) joined together on a two year project testing various houseplants for their ability to remove toxins/pollutants from indoor air.What they found is that plants are very effective at absorbing contaminants in the air. NASA has plans for future space stations, they plan to launch various plants into space as part of the biological life support system.
The study included their putting different plants in individually sealed chambers in which they injected chemicals in. Their findings are jaw dropping; for removing formaldehyde molecules, heart-leaf Philodendron, Spider plants and Golden Pothos were most effective. For removing benzene, flowering plants like Chrysanthemums and Gerbera Daisy were very effective.
According to nasa.gov:"NASA has been developing regenerative life support systems. These systems use plants or algae along with physical and chemical processes. The green plants produce food, convert carbon dioxide to oxygen through photosynthesis, produce drinkable water through evapotranspiration, and recycle organic wastes."
TOP 10 plants
TOP 10 plants most effective in removing:
Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Carbon Monoxide from the air.
- Bamboo Palm
- Chinese Evergreen
- English Ivy
- Gerbera Daisy
- Dracaena “Janet Craig”
- Dracaena Marginata
- Mass cane/Corn Plant
- Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Sansevieria Laurentii
- Chrysantheium morifolium
- Peace Lily
- Dracaena “Warneckii”
Chemicals and their effects:
- Formaldehyde has a very strong odor and is colorless. This chemical is used in the production of pressed-wood products. Those materials range from plywood, glues, adhesives, particle-board.....Exposure can cause respiratory problems and effects the mucus membrane. Symptoms include eye irritation, chest tightness, sinus infections...For some it can lead to asthma or asthma attacks.
- Benzene is a chemical that is used to produce plastics, nylon, rubber, dyes, pesticides, detergents...About half of the exposure due to this chemical is caused by smoking cigarettes and second hand smoke. High dose exposure can effect the central nervous system. It can also cause dizziness as well as headaches. A well insulated room in your home that is smoked in may be considered to be in the high level range.
- Carbon Monoxide can be produced by the use of gas and wood fire places as well as improperly installed appliances in your home. One build up that you may not think of may come from your garage due to poor ventilation. I unfortunately lost my best friend who was sitting in his car one winter; he did not know that ice/snow was in his tail-pipe and with the windows up it put him to sleep and took his life. Over 1,500 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Cut off the gas
The best solution to the problem is to avoid the products that cause the problem, which is not always an option. Here are a few things that we can do to reduce or try to eliminate off-gasses.
- When painting your walls or high glossing your floors, be sure to work in well ventilated areas.
- Remember to air out rooms with these odors for a few days.
- Start using green products such as paints or the insulation in your house.
- When buying carpet, try airing it out for a few days before installation (your installer may be able to help before delivery).
- Include plants not as just decoration but as a must have addition in your home.