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Our immediate environment exposes us to poisonous substances that we are not always aware of. Substances like plastics, paints, building materials, dyes, older types of solvents, adhesives, detergents, fabrics, and cosmetics. These substances have volatile toxins in them that sometimes get into the air we breathe. Benzene, xylene, trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and ammonia are afew common examples. Toxins like these cause weakness, dizziness, headaches, and irritation of the mucous membranes in the nose, eyes, throat, and respiratory tract. NASA has been studying indoor plants for many years to identify the species that are most effective at removing these toxins from the air. Here are a few of the most powerful ones.
Fern. Large fern leaves are natural humidifiers. The flowerless plant cleans the air and neutralizes the radiation emitted by electrical devices such as TVs and computers. Maybe that’s why they are so eagerly brought into the office. Ferns like moisture themselves, so they should be watered often. In winter, it is a good idea to spray them regularly with room temperature water.
Spathiphyllum (peace lily). A spectacular plant that purifies the air of toxic substances such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, trichloroethylene, and carbon monoxide. As it photosynthesizes, turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, the spathiphyllum breaks down harmful substances in the environment. Simultaneously, it humidifies the air. It also absorbs mold spores and harmful radiation emitted by electronic devices. The plant even holds a spot on NASA’s list of the top 10 plants for improving indoor air quality. Spathiphyllum is beautiful and delicate, yet wild. It prefers light with partial shade and weekly watering.
Spring ficus. An elegant plant well-suited for the office. The spring ficus is distinguished by its leathery, glossy leaves. ‘Ficus Robusta’ is one of the prettiest of its kind. Ficus is effective at removing formaldehyde from the air, so it is often used as a natural air purifier. It tolerates high temperatures and likes bright, indirect light and regular watering.
Chlorophytum (spider plant). The green grass of spider plant traps dust and toxic substances in the air such as formaldehyde, xylene, benzene, carbon monoxide, acetone, ammonia, and heavy metals. The plant also reduces harmful electromagnetic radiation, so you should place it near your workstation. One medium-sized plant can clean the air of up to 200 m2! The herbacea actively produces phytoncides — substances with antibacterial and fungicidal action properties — limiting the viability of 80% of pathogenic microorganisms. Spider plants enjoy well-drained soil and indirect light.