Air quality is a critical, but all too often overlooked, factor when it comes to our health.
Of course we all know there’s air pollution outside. On some days you can literally see the smog as you drive downtown. You hear about the current air quality when you watch the news.
But most people aren’t aware that certain chemicals and toxins are actually at a much higher level inside of our homes and offices. And obviously we all spend a lot of time indoors breathing in these invisible and harmful toxins.
Sock it to toxins by leaving your shoes at the door
One of the most surprising and simplest tricks you can used to decrease the chemicals you and your family are being exposed to inside of your home is to remove your shoes at the door.
Think about it for a moment. All day long your shoes are repeatedly coming into contact with toxins and you’re unknowingly tracking those very same chemicals right into your home.
- pesticides on the ground,
- oil residues on road and parking lot surfaces,
- cleaning chemicals and germs in public bathrooms
- polishing and cleansing chemicals used on floors and carpets.
I sure don’t want my house to be swimming in this toxic soup, and I’m betting you don’t either. So why not set up an area on the front porch or right inside the door for you and the rest of the family to leave shoes when you get home? It’s a common practice in many other cultures, and one we should adopt here in the USA too.
Cleanse the air in your home with plants
Another way to improve the air quality in your home is the addition of certain plants. In fact ,we even know what kinds of plants are the best air cleaners thanks to the space program.
NASA has done studies over the past three decades to investigate which plants would be best to help remove toxic chemicals from the air for use in space stations. And we can use what they discovered in their research to keep the air in our own homes clean, fresh and breathable too.
See the chart below for the top 5 most efficient plants at filtering formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.
|Top 5 formaldehyde, benzene, & trichloroethylene filtering plants|
|1. Mass cane (dracaena massangeana)|
|2. Pot mums (Chrysanthemum morifolium)|
|3. Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)|
|4. Warnecki (Dracaena deremensis “Warneckei”)|
|5. Ficus (Ficus benjamina)|
You can also try any combination of these next 10 plants to effectively remove a variety of other toxins from the air in your home:
|10 more toxin filtering plants|
|1. English Ivy (Hedera helix)|
|2. Marginata (Dracaena marginata)|
|3. Mother-in-laws tongue (Sansevieria laurentii)|
|4. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”)|
|5. Chinese evergreen (Algona “silver queen”)|
|6. Banana (Musa oriana)|
|7. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)|
|8. Heart Leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)|
|9. Green Spider Plant (Chlorophytum elatum)|
|10. Janet Craig (Dracaena deremensis “Janet Craig”)|
Even a single plant will make a difference, but for the biggest impact on your home’s air quality I recommend placing at least one plant per room and mixing them up for a little variety. And don’t forget to place a couple in your bedroom!
Dr. Garrett Wdowin
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).
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