We spend 80% of our life in indoor environments . But the air we breathe in these buildings, however, can pose a health risk, because it concentrates gases that are potentially toxic, such as carbon monoxide, ozone and volatile organic compounds from places not always known. Fortunately, plants help improve air quality: not only do they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, they also increase the humidity of the indoor environment and absorb pollutants through their leaves and roots , according to a report. Recent research that we discuss below. Likewise,we list the plants with the most purifying properties of air pollutants .
Most people are not surprised that the paint on the wall can release contaminant particles harmful to health. But few know that even furniture, sofa and even carpets are a source of accumulation of these particles that pollute the air circulating in environments such as home or workplace.
The plants help to absorb toxins, so they can improve indoor air quality. The most common pollutants that the plants are responsible for filtering are benzene, xylene, ammonia, trichlorethylene and formaldehyde.
Plants against asthma
According to the World Health Organization ( WHO ), more than 20% of the world’s population suffers from an allergy. And breathing a contaminated indoor air does not help to get rid of this disease. It can even be aggravated if an allergy is combined with asthma .
The origin of asthma is, most of the time, allergic and, therefore, it is impossible to avoid. But among the advice that the experts point out not to suffer it, is to keep the air that is breathed clean . And in this task it helps to ventilate at least five minutes a day, to finish with the dust accumulation and to place the appropriate plants in strategic places , as it affirms a recent international investigation published in the magazine Trends in Plant Science .
Plants help improve air quality for different reasons. First, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. Vegetables also increase the humidity of the interior air, through the so-called evapotranspiration made by the pores of their leaves. ” But they also absorb micropollutants from the air, both through the outer surface of the leaves and through their root system, ” says plant physiologist Federico Brilli, coordinator of the study.
When a plant is chosen for home, one usually looks at its appearance, but scientists advise taking into account its air purification capacity. Because plants are more than a decorative element of interior spaces.
Plants that clean the air
Despite the air cleaning effects recognized to plants, experts acknowledge that more studies are still needed to determine exactly which vegetables are the most suitable. However, these are some of the plants most noted for their purifying properties of air pollutants.
- Devil ivy ( Epipremnum aureum ). This popular and easy to get plant is very resistant and undemanding for irrigation, which makes it very common in homes and offices. It is effective to absorb formaldehyde, xylene and benzene.
- Peace lily or espatifilo ( Spathiphyllum sp ). They are long-lived plants. Its striking white flower, in fact, envelops the seeds. According to NASA, it absorbs air pollutants.
- Bamboo palm tree ( Raphis excelsa ). This plant can grow up to three meters high. In addition, it removes compounds such as formaldehyde, xylene and ammonia from the air.
- Viper’s bowstring hemp ( Sansevieria trifasciata ). Another plant widely used indoors, since it has the advantage of surviving in unfavorable conditions. It is good for removing benzene, xylene, toluene, trichlorethylene and formaldehyde.
- Rubber tree ( Ficus robusta ). Fast growing plant that needs space. If you manage to have it at home, you will be removing the formaldehyde from the air.
The fungi of the plants also help
The purifying capacity of the air of the plants is not reduced to its leaves and its root system. Each vegetable develops a microbial community of its own, and characteristic, in the soil. Ecologists and soil scientists know that soil is a living and constantly changing system, where fungi and bacteria are much more than the annoying beings that are usually considered: these small organisms are responsible for maintaining healthy the substrate that supports the plants. And, in addition, says Brilli, they also help to filter the polluting particles of the air from the indoor environments .
Although it is not about filling the mushroom environment. Scientists also know that some microorganisms, especially when their concentration is high, can also trigger allergic reactions, including inflammation of the respiratory tract.