Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Benefits of Plants in Your Home

A few months ago, my father told me about an article he read on how plants improve the quality of air we breathe. I’ve come to adopt the idea that having more live plants around me is a good thing. My sister and I set out to find whether or not there is truth behind nature. Does nature provide us a simple way to improve our emotional and physical health as we live in a high-tech, fast-paced lifestyle?

To our surprise, there have been studies (NASA Clean Air Study) showing that plants can produce oxygen as well as remove common harmful chemicals from the air improving the quality of air we breathe. These oxygen producing plants break harmful chemicals from common household items into harmless organic byproducts into the soil, which in turn they use as food. Examples of items and the chemicals they release are found in synthetic carpets (releases formaldehyde), petroleum products (release benzene), toys, chemical cleaners, paint, and furniture with synthetic components.

Top oxygen producing plants are:

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, Areca Palm, and Sprouts (yes the food type). Specifically, sweet pea sprouts and sunflower sprouts. A really cool tidbit is that a person could live in an air sealed room if there are roughly eight Mother-In-Law’s Tongue and an Areca Palm in the room with you. If you try this, let me know how it went.

We wondered how many oxygen producing plants we needed to buy. Unfortunately, the answer wasn’t as simple. We sat down to figure how much time we spent in our home/office, the number of people in the home/office, and the number of synthetic materials and furnishings we have. Yes, all this to find out how many to buy. We thought of buying 3-5 plants and realized that the NASA clean air study recommended 15-18 good sized oxygen producing plants for an 1800 square foot home/office. Yee!

Having plants around not only improve the quality of air we breathe they also brighten up our homes and offices. Before running out to the store make sure you take in to account the amount of space and light in your home. Also you want to make sure you choose plants that are suitable for your environment.

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