House Plants Combat Indoor Pollution - NBC 6 South Florida

House Plants Combat Indoor Pollution

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    House Plants Combat Indoor Pollution
    Tim Graham/Getty Images
    We all know about pollution outside. But what about pollution in your home? It's actually a lot more common than you might think. Solving the problem might be as simple as cultivating a green thumb.

    We all know about pollution outside. But what about pollution in your home? It's actually a lot more common than you might think.   Solving the problem might be as simple as cultivating a green thumb.

    Mortgage broker, Answorth Thompson, has that down pat. He works out of his Hartford home and, all day long, he’s surrounded by his many plants.

    "It just makes you feel good. You feel nice. You feel energetic, happy, peaceful,” Thompson said.

    Some are flowering, others are fragrant and there's another benefit Answorth knew nothing about.

    "While all houseplants will reduce levels of pollutants to some level, certain ones are much more effective,” said
    Dawn Pettinelli, from UConn’s Department of Plant Science.

    Many household items, such as your furniture, carpeting and even your curtains emit toxins -- indoor pollution.

    Formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and carbon monoxide are all invisible forces that might be present in your home.

    "A lot of these pollutants are potential carcinogens. So, while they might not affect you today, what's going to happen in five, 10, 15, 20 years?" Pettinelli said.  "The problem is, in most of our homes, especially new ones, that are very tightly sealed."

    But plants have powerful abilities to soak up those toxins. 

    It's something NASA first discovered after looking for a way to reduce toxins in spacecrafts because of lack of ventilation.

    So, what plants are most effective in soaking up toxins and easy to grow?

    The list includes:

    "Up to 50 percent of certain pollutants can be removed by these plants. So it's a considerable amount," Pettinelli said.

    The leaves, roots even the microorganisms that live in the potting soil all soak up toxins.

    Answorth had no idea.  All the more reason he's happy to have his green housemates.

    "I think that's great. That makes me feel good that I do something on a regular basis that enhances my environment," he said.

    In order to see a maximum impact, Pettinelli says, you should have one to two potted plants for every 100 square feet of living space in your home.  

    A word of warning, some of the plants listed above are toxic for children and animals.