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Let Us Keep The Air Clean Inside Our Home And Offices
By Dr. Ashraf Girgis ND
The issue of the environment has been brought to the forefront lately due to the Trump administration’s reluctance to adhere to the Paris accord. But, leaving politic du jour aside, air pollution contributes to 7 million deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization in 2014. Imagine 7 million deaths: this is much bigger damage and killings that any terrorism can inflict. According to some estimates, America spends somewhere close to $1.2 trillion in wars fighting terrorism. The issue of the environment is for the most part minimized or ignored, or sometimes even accentuated. The data emerging in the 1980s from the NSAS as well as the EPA shows that indoor pollution is as bad as outdoor. The term is known as Sick Building Syndrome.
Toxins affect everyone in society-we all breath the same air. Sometimes it is better if we don’t live or work in fancy high-rise buildings in big cities that are polluted. These buildings are often filled with toxins circulating in the air around or inside our living environments. While we may not have much choice at our homes or offices, we can still take a few simple steps to lessen the toxins in our living environments.
We do know that our furniture at home and our office equipment at work exudes toxins called volatile organic compounds (VOC) and organic compounds (benzene and trichloroethylene or TCE). Toxins are also emitted from our cleaning products (phenols) and our gardening pesticides (radon). We breathe in other toxins such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides in our home environments.
Other VOCs come from sources which range from carpets to types of flooring to paints used inside. These can all be hazardous to our health and, in the long term, can lead to inflammatory diseases. Among these VOCs are Formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, ethylbenzene, toluene, etc. So far there have been 900 VOCs identified inside buildings.
Before you get exasperated and claim all your weird symptoms as a result of these VOCs, we can talk about the good news. We can lower the numbers of these toxins by taking various steps. I have mentioned a few of these steps in my article published previously. Here, I would like to talk about one of my favorite ways to help to clean the air you are breathing: the use of various beautiful plants. These plants can help create easy and beautiful environments that are as good for your soul as they are for your health.
In 1989, the EPA in the United States Congress informed Americans of the existence of 900 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in public buildings. A similarly high degree of toxins was discovered by NASA in their closed spaces and the environment in which they breathed. For example, in 1973, NASA identified 107 volatile organic compounds emitted from the syntactic material inside the Skylab III spacecraft.
According to NASA scientist Dr. B.C. Wolverton, who has been looking into indoor pollution for more than a decade, there are 50 plants that can reduce the amount of toxins and pollutants in the air at home. According to these NASA scientists, plants can live and grow through the process of photosynthesis – the continued exchanges of gases through their leaves and roots with their environments. Common gas exchanges are carbon dioxide and water vapor. Plants can also take in other gases through tiny openings called stomata. Interestingly, we have learned in the last decades that microorganisms in our guts also play a significant role in our overall health. Similarly, it seems that microorganisms in plant leaves and roots are important to the breakdown of some harmful chemicals existing in the air.
In addition, Pennsylvania State University published in HortTechnology – the American Society of Horticultural Science's journal – the results of a study measuring the effects of three common household plants and their impact on indoor ozone level. They chose spider plants, snake plants, and golden pothos because of their easy maintenance. The result showed that all three plants equally lowered the level of ozone indoors.
So let us look at few of these beautiful plants that we can easily grow at home to keep our air nice and clean. Relaxing around these oxygen-producing plants helps our physical well-being and soothes our nature-loving souls, easing our minds. NASA’s recommendation is using one plant per 100 sq. ft to clean the air.