Air pollution such as car exhaust, factory emissions, and other greenhouse gas producing processes can have significant effects on our health. But environmental air pollution also occurs indoors. Manufactured objects such as paint, carpet, hardwood floors, furniture, cosmetics and other personal care products all give off volatile organic compounds, or VOCs that are trapped inside our homes. While regulations are becoming stricter as to what kinds and amounts of chemicals are going into these products, VOCs still remain a serious health issue.
Researchers from SUNY experimented with the commonly known theory that plants can help clean pollution from inside our houses. The study tested 8 different plants to record how much acetone, a common VOC found in nail salons, they could absorb and clean from the air. While certain plants absorbed significantly more acetone from the air than others, the results from the study suggest that different plants are efficient at absorbing different chemicals, so including a variety of house plants indoors appears to be the best way to clean the air.
(Video Credit: Scientific American, ACS)