The areca palm is also known as yellow palm or butterfly palm. It is tolerant of the indoor environment, releases copious amounts of moisture into the air, removes chemical toxins and is also beautiful to look at. It is consistently rated among the best for removing airborne toxins. Its high marks in all categories make it one of the top ‘eco-
The rubber plant was a favorite plant of the Victorians and remains equally popular today. Architects and designers value it for its aesthetic qualities and ease of growth. It will tolerate dim light and cool temperatures. Tests reveal it is especially effective at removing formaldehyde, a common toxin released by many building materials and furnishings.
This popular houseplant is one of the few that will reliably bloom indoors. But, if pollen is of concern, the flower inside the white spath can be removed without harming the plant. It has a high transpiration rate, which means it pumps moisture into the often dry indoor environment. It excels in the removal of alcohols, acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.
This is one of the most popular plants for homes and commercial buildings. It is easy to grow in standard containers, hanging baskets or on trellises. It ranks consistently among the top plants for indoor air purification and oxygen production.
The snake plant, also known as ‘mother-
Interior Plants for Human Health and Well-
The Biohome primarily comprised synthetic building materials and furnishings. Therefore, it was assumed that out-
In the early 1980s, Dr. Bill Wolverton, a NASA scientist at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, first discovered that interior plants could remove volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from sealed test chambers. After many repetitive chamber tests, the findings were published in 1984. These findings were enthusiastically received by the public. However, chamber test results do not always equilibrate to open air conditions.
To further investigate the ability of interior plants to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) in energy-
In our modern society, we have often thought of the indoor environment as a safe refuge from air pollution. Even today, those with respiratory problems, the young and elderly are advised to stay indoors during periods when air quality is poor. However, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies of human exposure to air pollutants may be 2-
Foliage plants that thrive in low-
Air quality was tested several days later by mass spectrometer/gas chromatograph analyses showing that nearly all of the VOCs had been removed. Sophisticated chemical analyses are necessary for scientific validation. However, the definitive proof lay in the fact that one no longer experienced burning eyes or other classic symptoms of sick building syndrome (SBS) when entering the Biohome. This was the first ‘real world’ application of interior plants alleviating SBS. As a case study, a student lived for one summer in the Biohome and experienced no discomfort from indoor air quality.
© 2019 — Wolverton Environmental Services
My Favorite Houseplants
for Cleaning the Air…