If you’re like me, Earth Day always reminds you of all the horrible things you are doing to the planet. I always feel so guilty when this beloved holiday comes around. I know I should be putting more effort into conservation. Isn’t there an easy way to make up for all of the paper I’ve wasted and Styrofoam cups I’ve tossed? Can I cancel out pollution?

Thanks to StumbleUpon, I learned you can cancel out (mollify) some airborne toxins by adopting a plant!  There are 3 toxins that are commonly found in the air we breathe everyday: Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde and Benzene. Over a dozen different plants have the ability to combat these harmful gasses. Find out where these gaseous pollutants come from and which plant is best equipped to naturally fight for your health!

Trichloroethylene:

Side Effects: Can cause affects similar to alcohol poisoning: headache and dizziness, with long-term damage to the liver and kidneys. Common Sources: Varnishes (6), Inks (4), Paints (19), Lacquers (1), Dry Cleaning (5), Adhesives (1). If you ever find yourself pouring varnish and paint on your ex-boyfriend’s dry cleaning while you write him a break-up letter in fancy ink and glue it to his suit; your ex may not be the only thing affecting your brain and liver.

Super Plant: Werneckei (6), Chrysanthemum (4), Peace Lily (19), Marginata (1), Gerbera Daisy (5)

 

Formaldehyde:

Side Effects: A very common indoor pollutant; can cause headaches, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing and is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA2; aka cancer causing!
Common Sources: Plywood (8), Clothes (9), Carpet (10), Particle Board (11), Paper Goods (12), Furniture (13), Foam Insulation (14), Water Repellent (15) and Household Cleaners (4). Basically, avoid elementary schools at all costs.

Super Plant: Dieffenbachia (8), Spider Plant (9), Golden Pathos (10), Philodendron (11), Corn Plant (12), Bamboo Palm (13), Azalea (14), Poinsettia (15) Chrysanthemum (4).

Benzene:

Side Effects: Can cause drowsiness, dizziness, vomiting and unconsciousness; has a pleasant smell, which is why it used to be a common ingredient in aftershave.3
Common Sources: Gasoline (1), Synthetic Fibers (2), Detergents (3), Plastics (4), Tobacco Smoke (7), and Oils (6). Heading over to Grandpa’s?  Make sure he puts out his pipe, stops doing the laundry full of ugly poly-blend Christmas sweaters and move the recycling in the garage with his collection of oil cans. (Anyone else’s Grand Pop a hoarder?)

Super Plant: Peace Lily (3), Jenny Craig (2), Chrysanthemum (4), Werneckei (6), English Ivy (7), and Marginata (1).

I don’t have a green thumb, but I’m pretty inspired by these 15 clever plants taking on some heavy duty poisons. Look for these plants next time you visit the spa/salon. Many products found in hair salons can contain traces of formaldehyde or benzene (like the popular Brazilian Blowout and other frizz eliminating treatments). Traditionally, spas aren’t known for harmful airborne chemicals, but they do use lots of paper goods like gauze and treatment table covers to stay sanitary between clients. Spas are also known for their beautiful decoration, like synthetic fabric curtains and drapes, fancy rugs and elegant furniture. Be aware of potential hazards. Don’t feel hopeless if you don’t see any green at your favorite spa or salon; make a suggestion to the owner to spruce up the place (pun intended).  Share your newly learned plant knowledge and I’m sure they will thank you for the suggestion. Happy Earth Day!


Sources 1, 2, 3 and plant guide courtesy of www.good.is.

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