Air quality is an important and well known factor when it comes to our health. Living in the Phoenix valley we have all heard the government warnings during a "high pollution day". The government understands and recommends that people with any lung disease or very young or geriatric persons should limit their outdoor activities that day.
Outside it is understood that there is air pollution. Everyone can see, and comprehend, the smog on as they drive towards downtown Phoenix. Most people are not aware that certain chemicals and toxins are actually at a much higher level inside our homes. Now think of the time we spend inside.Let us focus on just one activity, sleeping. It is estimated that we spend a third of our lives sleeping. This is a very long time to be exposed to household chemicals and pollutants.
One of the simplest ways to decrease the chemical exposures inside of your home is to remove your shoes. Think of all the places your feet touch and all the items they come in contact with. Pesticides on the ground, oil residues in the road/parking lot, chemicals and germs on a pubic bathroom floor. I don't want my house to be a mixture of all these places.
Another way to improve the air quality in your home is the addition of certain plants. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has done studies over the past three decades to investigate which plants could help remove toxic chemicals from the air for use in space stations. The most efficient plants at filtering formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene are:
Mass cane (dracaena massangeana)
Pot mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
Warnecki (Dracaena deremensis "Warneckei")
Ficus (Ficus benjamina)
The following plants are also effective at removing certain toxins from the air and can add a nice variety in a home.
English Ivy (Hedera helix)
Marginata (Dracaena marginata)
Mother-in-laws tongue (Sansevieria laurentii)
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum "Mauna Loa")
Chinese evergreen (Algona "silver queen")
Banana (Musa oriana)
Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
Heart Leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
Green Spider Plant (Chlorophytum elatum)
Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis "Janet Craig")
The addition of these plants will improve the home's environment by adding beauty and decreasing toxic exposure for those who live there. Any number of these plants in a house will make a difference, yet to make a noticeable difference in a home's air quality I recommend placing at least one plant per room and to include a little variety throughout the home. Please remember the most important room is your bedroom, so place a couple in there.
Dr. Garrett Wdowin is co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Bodhi Body Integrative Medical Centers. Dr. Wdowin is a licensed Naturopathic physician who specializes in environmental medicine, specifically chronic disease and its relationship with environmental toxins. Dr. Wdowin is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and the American College for Advancement in Medicine.Dr. Wdowin received his BA from Brown University, his medical degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, and has spent the last few years working in the valley with an integrated team of D.O.'s, N.D.'s, and an M.D.(H).