Chemicals that pose dangers to your health exist in everyday products. These VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, such as benzene and formaldehyde, are found in cleaners, pesticides, building supplies, paint, aerosol sprays, and hundreds of other products.
Many homes are now built airtight and have insufficient ventilation. This can result in a buildup of toxins from building materials, pesticides, cleaning products, and a host of other products many people use every day in their homes, such as air fresheners. With a mixture of such toxins accumulating in homes, synergistic toxicity can occur even though the actual individual levels are quite low.
Symptoms from VOCs are often mistaken for other forms of illnesses, but generally they include headaches, dizziness, nausea, eye irritation, coughing, shortness of breath, nasal irritation, and multiple chemical sensitivity.
A number of VOCs, especially chlorinated organic compounds (pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents, etc.), are associated with an increased risk of cancers of the blood and bone marrow as well as breast cancer. Fortunately, nature has a way of rejuvenating — and when it comes to improving the air quality in your home, you can rely on nature. A study by NASA shows that plants can actually remove harmful toxins, such as benzene and formaldehyde, from the air.
The following plants are the most effective for removing dangerous chemicals from the air you breathe, according to this important study:
• Philodendron scandens “oxycardium,” heartleaf philodendron
• Philodendrowdomesticum, elephant ear philodendron
• Dracaena fragrans “Massangeana,” cornstalk dracaena
• Hedera helix, English ivy
• Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant
• Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig,” Janet Craig dracaena
• Dracaena deremensis “Warneckii,” Warneck dracaena
• Ficus benjamina, weeping fig
• Epipiremnum aureum, golden pothos
• Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa,” peace lily
• Philodendron selloum, selloum philodendron
• Aglaonema modestum, Chinese evergreen
• Chamaedorea sefritzii, bamboo or reed palm
• Sansevieria trifasciata, snake plant
• Dracaena marginata, red-edged dracaena