The best way to purify the air in a house? Arrange seven plants, on average, in each room. Faith of Larry Hodgson, the air will be “very, very pure”.
All plants have “purifying” properties, he says. Isn’t China planting trees to lower air pollution for the 2008 Beijing Games? Indoors, plants that grow quickly, such as the spider plant, dracena and ferns, are the best performers. Don’t throw away your cactus! Even if it is growing slowly, it too helps to clean the air, says Hodgson.
Our homes really need to be purified, says the gardener and successful author (in particular The 45 best plants to purify the air in your home , Down to Earth Collection). The air would be more polluted there than on a street in Montreal at rush hour, he said.
The gardening columnist indicates that indoor pollution is caused by the many pollutants used daily in the home. Paints, cleaning products and plastics give off toxic fumes. Volatile toxic compounds also emanate from insulation, false ceilings, furniture, clothing that comes back from the cleaner or even from the shower water!
If air pollution has become a big concern, there is very little discussion of indoor air pollution, while Canadians spend 90% of their time between four walls, according to Environment Canada.
The idea that plants can purify the air in a closed environment is not new. In the 1980s, a NASA researcher discovered that green plants could remove volatile organic compounds that are harmful to health. From that time, indoor air became more and more charged with new synthetic materials for construction and decoration.
Symptoms of reaction to indoor air pollution range from headache to shortness of breath, to fatigue, nausea and irritation of the eyes, skin and respiratory tract, lists Environment Canada. Some people are more at risk, like asthmatics.
Plants are more effective than others in eliminating the toxicity of certain products, we now know. You can get rid of the acetone in solvents for nail polish, an “incredibly toxic” product according to Mr. Hodgson, with the peace lily. Boston ferns cancel pollution from formaldehyde while palm trees are effective against ammonia, he says.
In a working environment
The purifying capacities of plants could be used more in the workplace. According to a study by Washington State University, people who benefit from a green environment are 12% more productive and less stressed than those working in a plant-free environment. Plants also reduce noise and improve employee attitudes, it has been found.
Finally, Mr. Hodgson takes the opportunity to shatter the belief that plants steal oxygen from humans in a room: “According to the photosynthesis process, plants absorb carbon dioxide in the presence of light and then release ‘oxygen. At night, it’s the opposite phenomenon, but ultimately, plants release more oxygen than they consume. ”
However, he suggests avoiding highly scented plants, such as hyacinth, in a bedroom, whether one is sick or not, because their scent can disturb sleep. Another precaution to take where there are children: no poisonous plants with colored fruits. Children are generally unattractive to plants and rarely eat them, he says, unless they produce colorful fruits, such as the Jerusalem cherry.
The more plants there are in an environment, the less polluted it is. On this account, Larry Hodgson could offer clean air cures at home, thanks to the hundreds of green plants scattered throughout his home. “There are some in all the rooms where there is light.”