Breath Easy-House plants can improve air pollution

Just how clean is the air you breath? Air pollution is a modern day problem, but there are things you can do to improve the quality of the air that you breath.

wellpark-college-blog-the-air-we-breath

Here at Wellpark College we believe that nature knows best.  Using a powerful quote from the recent Nature is speaking videos (produced by Conservation International):

Nature doesn’t need us, but we need nature

The very air that sustains human life is provided by nature.  We need a constant supply of oxygen and consistent removal of carbon dioxide for our bodies to function properly.  Luckily for us, plants need the carbon dioxide that we eliminate and they supply the oxygen that we need.  If only it were that simple….

These days the quality of our indoor and outdoor air is ever-increasingly compromised by pollution, chemicals and environmental factors.  Living closer to industrial and traffic pollution sources, exposure to cigarette smoke, damp houses and contamination to the air we breathe mean that our bodies have to work harder and harder to stay healthy and we’re increasingly seeing the impacts this is having on our health.

Common chemicals such as benzene (found in gasoline, inks, oils, paints, plastics and rubber), trichloroethylene (found in printing ink, paint, lacquer, varnishes and adhesives) and formaldehyde (found in supermarket bags, waxed paper, facial tissues, paper towels, cleaning agents, adhesives, cigarette smoke and fuels) are responsible for numerous health conditions ranging from skin or eye irritation to allergies, asthma and even cancer.

Does anyone feel like leaving the rat race and moving to the country yet?  Although ideally we’d reduce our exposure to these pollutants and look into ways to optimise our health to counter these negative impacts to our bodies, it’s pretty impractical for most of us to avoid our modern day environment.

So, what can we do to improve the quality of air inside our homes?  One of the more affordable solutions is to bring a little bit of nature indoors and invest in some indoor plants.  Back in the 1980s, NASA carried out a study of the plants that counteracted indoor air pollution, specifically looking at the three chemicals we mentioned earlier.  Five of the plants studied were shown to reduce all three chemicals from the indoor environment, so these could be a good place to start if you are thinking of buying some plants for your home:

  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Marginata (Dracaena marginata)
  • Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
  • Mother-In-Laws tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), and
  • Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis)

It’s not just about reducing air pollution the added benefits are that indoor plants have been shown to increase positivity and to reduce worries and stress… another common side effect of our everyday life.

By Suzy Walsh, Naturopathic and Herbal Medicine Student at Wellpark College.