Houseplants That Fight Sick House Syndrome

Are your eyes watering when you enter your room with the new carpet or paint? Do you get a headache when entering your building where you work? Sick Building Syndrome commonly causes these and other symptoms. Recent research has proven that certain houseplants can help remove outgases that occur from certain sources such as new carpeting, fresh paint, new furniture, cleaning agents, pesticides, vehicle exhausts, smoke, pollen, bacteria, viruses and molds.

Symptoms associated with Sick Building Syndrome are headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea, difficulty concentrating, fatigue or sensitivity to odors. Other symptoms are fever and chills, chest tightness, muscle aches, allergic reactions, watering eyes, hoarseness, heart palpitations, miscarriages, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, mental fogginess, and tremors, swelling of the legs and ankles and even cancer in some cases. Trying to work or live with these symptoms can be miserable, but help is only a nursery away, in the form of certain houseplants.

Research performed by NASA has proven that houseplants can help remove the indoor air pollution that cause Sick Building Syndrome, which occurs in closed or poorly ventilated offices and residences. These houseplants accomplish this task by removing the substances from of the air through tiny opening in their leaves. Air pollutants are also removed through the roots and soil associated with houseplants. To fight Sick Building Syndrome with houseplants, place fifteen to eighteen plants, in 6-8″ pots, throughout an 1800 square foot house for a ratio of 1 plant per 100 square feet of building. So decorating your house with beautiful houseplants not only improves the house anesthetically, it can prove to help with the residents’ health.

Houseplants have been proven to remove Benzene, Formaldehyde and Trichloroethylene from the air in a building with Sick Building Syndrome. Benzene is found in detergents, inks and dyes, petroleum products, plastics, rubber products, synthetic fibers and tobacco smoke. The houseplants that remove benzene are Chinese Evergreens, Chrysanthemum, Dragon Tree, English Ivy, Gerber Daisy, Janet Craig Dracaena, Peace Lily and Striped Dracaena. Formaldehyde is found in carpeting, cleaners, foam insulation, furniture, paper products as well as plywoods and particleboards. The houseplants that remove formaldehyde are Bamboo Palm, Corn Stalk Plant, Devil’s Ivy, Ficus Trees, Philodendrons, Snake Plant and Spider Plant. Trichloroethylene is found in adhesives, dry cleaning, inks and dyes, lacquers and paints and varnishes. Houseplants that remove Trichloroethylene are Dragon Tree, Gerber Daisy, Peace Lily, Potted Flowering Mums and Ribbon Plant.

So remember, if your are exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above and they seem to clear up after leaving a building or residence, then you probably have Sick Building Syndrome. Removing the sources that cause these symptoms is always best, but if that is not possible, the next best thing is to remove the air pollutants. Removing the air pollutants that cause Sick Building Syndrome can be accomplished by airing out the building, allowing fresh air in, by using HEPA filters and by decorating the area with houseplants, and improving living or working conditions for everyone.

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