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Blog

How Plants can Help to Improve Air Quality

Freelance Contributor


Jennifer Hatfield


Indoor air pollution is an invisible but potentially deadly problem that affects thousands of families across South Africa. Poor air quality can cause irritation and respiratory issues in adults, and it nearly doubles the risk of chronic infections such as pneumonia or asthma in children. Not only that, but poor air quality can lead to the formation of mould and cause extensive property damage. The best way to avoid damage to your health and your home is by being proactive and keeping pollutants out of your home, and one of the easiest and most eco-friendly ways to do this is by growing plants.

What Causes Poor Air Quality?

If the air quality in your house is dropping, there could be a number of reasons behind the change. Many HVAC systems release toxic compounds into the air when operating, especially older models. Leaking AC units may also lead to air pollution by encouraging mould growth. Even furniture can chip away at air quality, as certain varnishes and finishes contain volatile chemicals that are known to irritate the skin and mucous membranes. Houses with asbestos insulation significantly increase the residents’ risk of developing lung cancer. Other common household pollutants include:

●     Carbon monoxide from kitchen appliances

●     Fumed from cleaning chemicals

●     Smoke from cooking or fireplaces

●     Tobacco smoke

●     Dust and mites

●     Pet hair and dander

●     Radon gas

Your home isn’t necessarily the only place where you can be exposed to indoor air pollution. Any enclosed space may be home to dangerous toxins, including classrooms, workspaces, retail outlets, hospitals, and more. It’s a good idea to call schools, workplaces, and other places where family members will be spending a significant chunk of time and ensure that their air quality is up to code.

The Dangers of Poor Air Quality

Poor air quality doesn’t just lead to unsightly mould and mildew and the associated property damage. It can pose a threat to the health of your family, especially young or elderly members. Indoor air pollution may only have mild, short-term effects at first, such as coughing, sneezing, and irritation, but prolonged exposure can lead to more serious complications such as respiratory disease and even cancer. Pollutants such as carbon monoxide, when present in high enough amounts, can lead to instantaneous death.

Plants and Air Quality

Instead of going out and investing in an expensive filtration system, there’s an easier way to tackle poor air quality in the home, workplace, or elsewhere. This method will also aid in your eco-friendly cleaning efforts. Plants are a natural and aesthetically pleasing way of reducing interior air pollution. They remove carbon dioxide and other toxins from the air, replacing them with fresh oxygen. Even NASA uses plants to filter the air aboard their vessels. The space agency has published a list of the houseplants that offer the best filtration, including:

●     Aloe Vera

●     Peace Lily

●     Spider Plant

●     English Ivy

●     Boston Fern

●     Heart Leaf Philodendron

●     Eucalyptus

●     African Violet

●     Chinese Evergreen

●     Chrysanthemum

No matter what the cause, poor indoor air quality can pose a threat both to your family and your property. One of the most eco-friendly and cost-effective ways of combating indoor air pollutants is by filling your home with greenery. Plants can help to filter out toxins in the air, keeping your family safe from any long-term health effects.

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