Wednesday, 4 May 2011

NASA's Top Ten House Plants for Improving Indoor Air Quality

If you suspect that you may be living or working in a place with Sick Building Syndrome installing house plants could help.

A study by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) in the 1980's  concluded that common houseplants like spider plants not only make indoor spaces more attractive, they also help to purify the air.

NASA and ALCA spent two years testing 19 different common houseplants for their ability to remove  common pollutants from the air. They primarily tested for the removal of Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Trichloroethylene. Formaldehyde is used in many building materials including particle board and foam insulations. Additionally, many cleaning products contain this chemical. Benzene is a common solvent found in oils and paints. Trichloroethylene is used in paints, adhesives, inks, and varnishes.

NASA found that some of the plants were better than others for absorbing these common pollutants, here is

The NASA Top 10 Houseplants for Improving Indoor Air Quality:

1. Philodendron scandens `oxycardium', heartleaf philodendron
2. Philodendron domesticum, elephant ear philodendron
3. Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana', cornstalk dracaena
4. Hedera helix, English ivy
5. Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant
6. Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig', Janet Craig dracaena
7. Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii', Warneck dracaena
8. Ficus benjamina, weeping fig
9. Epipiremnum aureum, golden pothos
10. Spathiphyllum `Mauna Loa', peace lily
11. Philodendron selloum, selloum philodendron
12. Aglaonema modestum, Chinese evergreen
13. Chamaedorea sefritzii, bamboo or reed palm
14. Sansevieria trifasciata, snake plant
15. Dracaena marginata , red-edged dracaena

The study recommended using at least fifteen samples of a good variety of these common houseplants grown in six inch containers or larger to help improve air quality.

Sick Building Syndrome can cause the following symptoms:

Tiredness & lethargy
Headaches - dull or pressure type
Dry itchy skin
Coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing
Ear, nose and throat irritations

(If you have any major health concerns you should consult your Doctor)

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