Can houseplants purify the air in your home?

For example, many of the items we use to clean and freshen our homes, schools, and workplaces emit invisible poisons into the air.

"The smell of fresh is not a smell," explains Anne Hicks, a pediatric lung specialist at the University of Alberta.

"If you can smell it, there's a chemical in the air that's irritating your nose. So all of that is air pollution, whether it smells good or awful," she explains.

"Indoor air pollution is huge, and it's a relatively unknown frontier, because even my next-door neighbour's house has a different air pollution fingerprint than my house would have,"

Dr. Hicks said.Indoor air pollution is extremely complicated, poorly controlled, and frequently beyond individual control. For example, road traffic emits nitrogen dioxide, while moisture and structural concerns in buildings can cause mould.

Air purifiers with HEPA filters can help. However, the initial cost, as well as the energy required to operate them, may be prohibitively expensive for certain households.

This is one of the reasons why potted plants are so tempting as passive, low-cost air cleaners. Plant leaves absorb carbon dioxide and other contaminants, which are then employed in plant activities or broken down.

The community of microorganisms and the growing medium (such as soil or compost) are especially essential in this regard, as several studies show that they absorb toxins more effectively than the plant itself.

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