How to Improve Indoor Air Quality, Naturally
Take Steps to Breath Easier and Prevent Health Concerns
Oct 14, 2009 Amy Kreydin
Home and office air quality can become unfavorable by the introduction of chemicals, molds, and other pollutants. Natural solutions benefit humans and the planet.
Fall and winter are especially tough times for indoor air quality in homes and offices found in colder climate regions. With the windows closed up for months at a time the house has very poor ventilation during a season riddled with viruses and germs.
In addition to airborne germs and viruses, some homes suffer from moisture control issues and start to develop mold and mildew pollutants. A damp home is also breeding grounds for mites, roaches and rodents. The EPA recommends controlling humidity levels in the home to reduce growth of sources of these biological contaminants. Solutions might include a dehumidifier in basements and moist areas of the home, adding a salt lamp to damp rooms, and removing sources of standing water anywhere indoors.
The founder of the Healthy Home Institute, John Bower, is quoted on indoor air quality as having said “Walking into a modern building can sometimes be compared to placing your head inside a plastic bag that is filled with toxic fumes.”
Air Cleaning Plants
There are many electronic air cleaner and purifiers on the market that can be purchased in a department or hardware store. But nature’s own air cleaners are plants – some plants are effective in refreshing indoor air, naturally. Some of these houseplants that clean air include:
* Palms – areca, reed and dwarf date varieties
* Ferns – Boston, Australian sword, pteris (aka “table fern”), and others from the nephrolepis species
* Pothos – golden (epipremnum aureum)
* Spider plant (chlorophytum comosum ‘vittatum’)
* Peace lily (spathiphyllum species)
* Chinese evergreen (aglaonema modestum ‘Silver Queen’)
* Ficus – Alii (ficus maclellandii 'Alii'), Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica), and Weeping fig (ficus benjamina)
Air Fresheners – Chemical-free Aromatherapy for the Home
Many commercial air fresheners can pollute indoor air and lead to health problems for those with asthma and chemical sensitivities. A homemade potpourri can reduce this indoor air pollution, creating a wonderful smelling home without the chemicals.
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Spices, herbs, flowers and other aromatic plants can be great sources of natural air fresheners. For example, one can bring the scents of autumn indoors with woodsy and peppery aromas to cleanse the air and welcome house guests. In the summer an outdoorsy combination can smell “green” and help freshen up the space.
Autumn and Winter Simmering Aromatherapy
In a pan of hot water add slices of half an apple, a few cinnamon sticks, a pinch of cloves (whole, preferably), three bay leaves, and some slices of gingerroot. This pot smells like fresh apple pie and can be simmered on the stovetop for hours. The act of simmering water also helps to replace moisture in the air, acting like a humidifier and being very sinus-friendly. The rind of a few kumquats will add a nice citrus scent to this blend and are available in the produce section of many grocery stores aroun
Spring or Summer Potpourri
Grate the rind of two favorite citruses, such as grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, orange or clementines, and add to a large mixing bowl. Add a handful dried or fresh rosemary and a favorite mint leaf – catmint, spearmint and peppermint are popular. Toss in a quarter of a cup of wholes cloves and thyme leaves and mix thoroughly. Arrange in smaller bowls around the house where a fresh scent is helpful – start with the kitchen, bathrooms and living room.
* The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier, Storey Publishing 2008.
* An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality, United States Environmental Protection Agency, accessed online October 2009.
* Indoor Air Pollutants and Toxic Materials, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed online October 2009.
* Study Says: Most Homes Pose Health Risks, Healthy House Institute®, accessed online October 2009.
* Air Cleaning Plants, Organic Gardening, accessed online October 2009.
* Interior Landscape Plants for Air Pollution Abatement, NASA 1989 study, accessed online October 2009.
Read more at Suite101: How to Improve Indoor Air Quality, Naturally: Take Steps to Breath Easier and Prevent Health Concerns http://greenliving.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_improve_indoor_air_quality_naturally#ixzz0c0WpJxOX
Office Plants Promote Good Health
Indoor Plants That Clean the Air
Mar 1, 2009 Tricia Edgar
Learn which indoor plants clean home and office air, promote good health, and prevent sick building syndrome.
Plants add life to an office space. Whether they are in a home office or a cubicle, having plants in the office relaxes people and may even make them more productive. During photosynthesis, plants also add oxygen to the air.
Office Plants Clean the Air
Office plants are also important in the maintenance of healthy indoor air. People who work in enclosed office environments are exposed to any number of chemicals, leading to health problems like "sick building syndrome". Sources of chemicals include gases from carpets, cleaning chemicals, printer and copier chemicals, volatile organic compounds from paint, and even simple office dust. While these chemicals rarely present a risk for immediate toxic health effects, they can cause chronic health impacts over
Indoor Plants Promote Good Health
In 1998, researchers Fjeld, Veiersted, Sandvik and Riise were working at the National Institute of Occupational Health in Oslo. They conducted research into the health impacts of office plants and discovered that the presence of indoor plants reduced coughs, fatigue, and dry skin symptoms by up to 37 per cent. Their research was published in the journal Indoor Built Environments. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the problem of poor indoor air quality and has launched
Indoor Tropical Plants Thrive in Low Light and Clean the Air
Many office plants that are good at purifying the air originated in tropical climates. These plants live under the thick canopy in the tropical rainforest, and they are very good at processing the gases they need to survive. This makes them good candidates for cleaning indoor air.
Dr Bill Wolverton, a former NASA scientist who conducted 25 years of research on indoor plants and their ability to purify air in enclosed environments, wrote the book How to Grow Fresh Air (Penguin, 1997) which describes 50 plants that clean office air. These plants include:
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* Corn plant (Dracaena Massangeana)
* English Ivy (Hedera helix)
* Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii)
* Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
* Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena)
* Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
* Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)
* Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
* Sword or Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
* Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
Indoor Plants Remove Different Chemicals
Three chemicals of particular concern in office environments are formaldehyde, benzene, and TCE. Formaldehyde is often found in particle board products used in office furniture. It is also found in cleaning agents. Philodendron, spider plant, weeping fig, and golden pothos are good at removing formaldehyde from the air. Benzene is found in glue, paint, and plastics. Plants that remove benzene include gerbera daisy, golden pothos, English Ivy, Peace Lily, Gerbera Daisy, Madagascar Dragon Tree. Trichloroethy
While indoor plants may not solve all of the problems of indoor environmental quality, office plants can make a significant difference to human health and happiness in a work environment. Indoor plants not only beautify an office, but they also add oxygen and clean the air, giving the green office a whole new meaning.
Read more at Suite101: Office Plants Promote Good Health: Indoor Plants That Clean the Air http://houseplants.suite101.com/article.cfm/healthy_office_plants#ixzz0c0fJPQ9C