NASA conducted a series of studies in the 1980 to determine how plants benefit people in enclosed spaces. They wanted to understand the beneficial effects of having plants in manned space missions. Their research revealed which plants remove toxins from the air in closed chambers.
Plants take in all types of gaseous substances from the surrounding atmosphere. To do this, they use tiny openings on their leaves. This allows them to remove toxins such as formaldehyde, benzine and carbon monoxide from the air. Below is an abridged list of the houseplants NASA identified as natural air filters.
Plants that Remove Toxins from the Air
Plants that Remove Formaldehyde
Here’s more information about formaldehyde, as published by the University of Minnesota:
- Sources of formaldehyde in the home include building and insulating materials, smoking, household products, and the use of un-vented, fuel-burning appliances, like gas stoves or kerosene space heaters.
- Formaldehyde is also found in other products such as chemicals, particle board, household products, glues, permanent press fabrics, paper product coatings, fiberboard and plywood.
- [Formaldehyde] is a sensitizing agent that can cause an immune system response upon initial exposure. It is also a suspected human carcinogen that is linked to nasal cancer and lung cancer. Formaldehyde exposure is most common through gas-phase inhalation. Airborne concentrations of formaldehyde above 0.1ppm can cause irritation of the respiratory tract.
1. Heart Leaf Philodendron
2. Elephant Ear Philodendron
3. Lacy Tree Philodendron
4. Green Spider Plant
5. Golden Pothos
6. Mother in Law Tongue
7. Aloe Vera
Plants that Remove Benzene
Here’s what the CDC has to say about benzene:
- Benzene is a chemical that is a colorless or light yellow liquid at room temperature. It has a sweet odor and is highly flammable. Benzene evaporates into the air very quickly. Its vapor is heavier than air and may sink into low-lying areas.
- Indoor air generally contains levels of benzene higher than those in outdoor air. The benzene in indoor air comes from products that contain benzene such as glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents. [In addition] a major source of benzene exposure is tobacco smoke.
- Benzene works by causing cells not to work correctly. For example, it can cause bone marrow not to produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. Also, it can damage the immune system by changing blood levels of antibodies and causing the loss of white blood cells.
- The major effect of benzene from long-term exposure is on the blood. Benzene causes harmful effects on the bone marrow and can cause a decrease in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can also cause excessive bleeding and can affect the immune system, increasing the chance for infection.
8. Gerbera Daisy
10. Peach Lily
12. Bamboo Plant
You can view full results of NASA’s research here.
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