With the never ending jungle of concrete that is our cities, one wonders where can a person get a whiff of fresh air? Surely driving off to the countryside every day is not feasible! And due to all the congestion and pollution, harmful chemicals and pollutants are contaminating the air up to the point of making it intolerable. Especially the volatile organic compounds or VOCs are the resultant harmful pollutants originating from paint, furniture, printers and other household products. Sometimes buildings have VOCs so high that you can actually smell them in the air!
So in a bid to fight off this dilemma, research conducted at the State University of New York suggested using indoor plants to clean out the air. But they didn’t just stop there; the scientists also gave a list of 5 plants that not only pump oxygen into your surroundings but also clear the air of harmful chemicals using biofiltration/phytoremediation.
A high concentration of VOCs can lead to health problems such as dizziness, asthma, or allergies.
Although the presence and usage of this phenomenon to clean the air is not new, the research is fascinating because the team conducted precise experiments and rated five different types of houseplants on their cleaning efficiency and performance. These plants include the jade plant, spider plant, bromeliad, dracaena, and Caribbean tree cactus.
The experiment consisted of placing each plant in an air-tight chamber and using several types of VOCs concentrations. And then by measuring the air quality over a set period, the researchers were able to “rate” the plants on their performance.
The study was presented at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Philadelphia, the “bromeliad plant” got the first position from the team. It got this “honour” as it was able to clean up 80 percent of the pollutants in six of the eight VOCs tested; thus it was deemed to the most comprehensive cleaner. Other plants like “the dracaena” absorbed certain chemicals with great efficiency, like sucking in 94 percent of the chemical acetone, which is usually used in nail polish remover.
Spider plants were noted to be very swift in getting to work, removing VOCs just a few minutes after being placed inside its container.
The new study hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed or published at any major platform just yet, as the team is still looking to refine their experiment. So there isn’t much to independently verify the results, but the prospect of using plants indoor mean you can decorate your interior with natural beauty while breathing in healthy, chemical free air!
Do you also use plants to decorate your house? Which ones? Let us know in the comments’ section below!