Health

Healthy houseplants

Published 1300 GMT (2100 HKT) September 1, 2016
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According to a study by chemistry professor Vadoud Niri and his team at State University of New York at Oswego, houseplants are a good way to absorb volatile chemical compounds in the air. These compounds, commonly found in paints, furniture, printers, cleaning supplies and even dry-cleaned clothes, can have adverse health effects. Some plants are more effective in absorbing certain chemicals than others; crassula argentea (jade plant) is very good at absorbing toluene, emitted by cars, gasoline, kerosene, heating oil, paints and lacquers. Shutterstock
Chlorophytum comosum, a kind of spider plant, can take up more than 90% of o-Xylene, found in fuels, and p-Xylene, found in plastic and rubber products. Smokers may also want to keep this plant around: Over a few days, it can absorb 90% of formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, ingredients of cigarette smoke. Shutterstock
These bromeliads can liven up your house with a hint of red, but they are also great air purifiers when it comes to benzene. The plant can absorb more than 90% of the chemical, which you can find in glue, paint, furniture wax and detergent. You may also breathe it in if you live near gas stations, hazardous waste sites or industrial facilities. Shutterstock
The Caribbean tree cactus can absorb 80% of ethylbenzene in the air. The toxic chemical can be found in items such as construction materials, electronic products, food packaging, furniture, garden care products and even toys. Peter A. Mansfeld/Creative Commons
Consider decorating with dracaena plants, which can absorb more than 90% of acetone. It's found in common products such as nail polish remover or household cleaners. Living near a busy road or a facility that manufactures paints, plastics, chemicals, artificial fibers and shoes would also increase your risk of breathing in the toxic gas. Shutterstock
If the air in your home is too dry, you may want to get some ferns. These plants are good at increasing air humidity. shutterstock
If you work in an office in front of a computer or near printers, spathiphyllum wallisii or peace lily can help keep you healthy. They absorb electromagnetic radiation emitted by computers and printers and keep the air moisturized. Shutterstock
Another plant for cigarette smokers or those who are sensitive to smoke: hedera helix, or English ivy. It is also recommended for those who have asthma. Shutterstock
If your house smells, invest in a ficus elastica. The plant absorbs odors and reduces the number of microorganisms and the amount of toxic substances. shutterstock
If you're still decorating your bedroom, it's not too late to buy sansevieria trifasciata, or snake plant. It removes benzene and formaldehyde in the air and produces the greatest amount of oxygen at night. Shutterstock
Philodendron scandens is effective in taking out formaldehyde, commonly found in cleaning products and gas stoves. Shutterstock
A palm tree not only brings you memories of vacationing on a tropical beach, it also helps regulate humidity levels. shutterstock