Plants Reducing Indoor Pollution

Kibkabe Araya - Columnist
Posted on Thursday 1st October 2009

When artificial plants and flowers are around, I sneeze. Dust collects on the wiry leaves and petals, making the indoor environment a little dustier. All the same, people like them because they don’t have to be watered and because they last a relatively long time. I prefer real flowers and plants, in part because they help me to breathe more easily.

The Environmental Protection Agency lists agents like mold, gas and dust as causes of indoor air pollution. Dust is a collection of many pollutant particles that can disrupt breathing.

Having plants and flowers around the home may reduce indoor pollution because they absorb airborne molds and bacteria. They take these allergens into their leaves and transmit them to the roots, where they are converted into a food source for the plant. According to Southern Botanical, Inc., a landscaping company, homes and offices that have plants and flowers have 50 to 60% fewer pollutants in the air.

Placing flowers and plants near a window and watering them appropriately will make them last longer. Although most plants require sunlight, some can withstand limited sun exposure, like cacti and peace lilies. Plants like those are optimal for bathrooms and other rooms without a window. If any of the plants die, you can pluck leaves and petals off to make a natural potpourri that gives the room a calming effect—as long as it’s changed sometimes to prevent dust.

Certain plants remove certain toxins. The Professional Landscape Network found that gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums are great at removing benzene from the indoor environment. Benzene is a chemical that can cause short-term neurological symptoms like dizziness, in addition to long-term effects like cancer.

As we spend more and more time indoors because of the Internet and the digital age, asthma and other environmental illnesses have become a bigger and bigger problem. Bringing plants and flowers into the home can reduce your chances of being affected.

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