Breathe Easy

Wonderful blog about using house plants to protect against domestic poisonous gases…

Eliza Waters

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In recent decades, in the interest of energy efficiency, our homes have become increasingly airtight. Unfortunately, that also means that toxic chemicals commonly used in building materials, home furnishings and household cleaners off-gas and build up within our interiors with the potential of making us sick. The good news is that NASA research found that many commonly grown houseplants not only produce fresh oxygen, they also clean the air of indoor pollutants.

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Formaldehyde, found in virtually all indoor environments, irritates the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat and is linked to asthma. Sources include urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI), particleboard and pressed wood furniture. UF resins treat paper products (grocery bags, waxed papers, facial tissues and paper towels) and are used as stiffeners, wrinkle resisters, water repellents, fire retardants and adhesive binders in floor coverings, carpet backings and permanent-press clothes.

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Trichloroethylene (TCE), a commercial product, is used in…

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