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The 10 Best Pollution-Busting Houseplants

October 20, 2009 | 117,918 views
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houseplantOver the years there has been quite a bit of debate about whether houseplants really can filter indoor air by removing toxins and particles. NASA tests in a spacecraft packed with plants showed markedly better air, but proving that plants are efficient filters in other situations hasn't been so easy.

But houseplants can't hurt. Not only might they take out some of the air pollution, but some think they may offer some protection against electromagnetic radiation. But which houseplants should you pick?

The New Ecologist made a list of the top 10 anti-pollutant houseplants. They rate the best as:

  1. The Feston Rose plant
  1. Devil’s Ivy
  1. Phalaenopsis
  1. English Ivy
  1. Parlor Ivy
  1. African Violets
  1. Christmas Cactus
  1. Yellow Goddess
  1. Garlic Vine
  1. Peace Lily

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

Donate Today!


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Bringing a bit of nature indoors with houseplants is an excellent idea, both for your physical and emotional health. Living closer to nature can actually help you to live longer, and hospital patients who have a view of nature recover from illness and surgery more quickly than those who don't.

It was NASA, along with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), that conducted the classic study on the benefits of plants on indoor air, and they reported that houseplants were able to remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours. They recommended using 15 to 18 "good-sized" houseplants in 6- to 8-inch diameter containers for an 1,800 square-foot house.

NASA at Stennis Space Center has also constructed a BioHome that uses bioregenerative technology with the ultimate goal of providing a life support system for permanent human habitation of space. And inside the structure are common houseplants, which NASA says “serve as living air purifiers” to “absorb chemical pollutants resulting from synthetic materials in the living area.”

If houseplants are capable of cleansing air in the BioHome, imagine what they can do in your home!

Why Should You be Concerned About Your Indoor Air Quality?

NASA has concerns about indoor air quality for obvious reasons, but you and your family also have reason to seek to improve the quality of your home and office air.

Sure, walking into an office building or typical home will probably not make you immediately sick, but over time your body will absorb any number of potentially toxic substances that exist freely in the air. For instance:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are toxic gases emitted from paints, cleansers, air fresheners, vinyl floors, carpets, upholstery fabrics, and much more, can cause cancer and damage to your liver, kidney and central nervous system.

VOCs in the indoor air of new buildings have been found to average 20 to 40 mg per m3. Adverse health effects may begin with exposure at just 10 mg per m3.

  • Engineered wood products commonly used to make cabinets, furniture, wall paneling and more emit pollutants such as formaldehyde into your home’s air.

Indoor air can be up to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air, and some other potential toxic vapors that can contaminate it, aside from those listed above, include:

  • Benzene

  • Xylene

  • Toluene

  • Ammonia

While a high-quality air purifier can be used to help reduce toxins in your home and office air, and I highly recommend using one at that, houseplants can act as an extra buffer against air pollutants -- and they have benefits that extend beyond air quality as well!

House Plants are Good for Your Health and Well-Being

It really is amazing how large an impact a few potted plants can have. Here are just some of the benefits that houseplants can bring to your life:

  • A study by researchers from the Agricultural University of Norway found potted plants reduced stress in office workers and lowered the number of sick days taken.

  • Research from TNO Quality of Life found plants in the workplace lessened fatigue and stress, and employees noted a reduction in flu-like symptoms. Employees also reported feeling more productive with plants nearby. As a result of the findings TNO recommends providing one large plant for every two employees!

  • A University of Agriculture in Norway study found indoor plants can reduce fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses, partially by increasing humidity levels and decreasing dust.

Adding a few houseplants to your home and office is truly a simple way to bring more natural, aesthetically pleasing and healthy materials into your living space.

If you’d like a few ideas to get you started, How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office is a great reference. Just remember that some houseplants are poisonous, so do your homework before buying -- especially if you have children or pets in your home.

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico