Another major plant benefit discovery is the effect they have on indoor air pollution.
Many people are not aware of any danger from air pollution in our homes, but air pollution indoors is not just a city problem.
Aside from any outdoor pollution coming in there are actually serious indoor air quality issues in almost every modern home.
This pollution is caused by volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are carbon based chemicals that easily give off gasses at room temperature. VOCs ‘out gas’ from many seemingly harmless items in our homes.
Vinyl flooring, carpeting, paint, wallpaper, fabrics, composite wood products, household cleaners and many more everyday products pollute the air in our homes causing serious health issues. The fact is that VOCs indoors can be consistently more than ten times the concentration outdoors (United States Botanical Garden).
Some common VOCs are formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, ammonia, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene. These chemicals can cause a host of symptoms from coughing to cancer. This is nothing to sneeze at!
It would be fantastic if we could just get rid of these with a wave of a magic wand but most of us cannot just rip out all the VOC emitting products from our homes. It is not exaggeration to say that in some cases removing all VOCs would tear the house down altogether.
There is some great news though. Studies at the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) have given us some exciting weapons in the fight against indoor air pollution caused by VOCs…PLANTS!
Nineteen common houseplants were shown to remove up to 87% of the VOCs they were exposed to in 24 hours. The study suggests one 6” plant for every 100 square feet.