People spend around 90 percent of their lives indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Unfortunately, indoor air quality is sometimes two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Poor air quality in the home and office can result in people developing health conditions like Sick Building Syndrome. Indoor air quality can be improved with natural methods for air purification, such as using plants and crystals as air purifiers.
Air quality in the home
Many factors can contribute to poor air quality in the home. People smoking indoors, using products with chemicals, and allowing moisture buildup that breeds mold all reduce indoor air quality. Chemicals from paint, household cleaning products, and detergents cause indoor pollution when they evaporate. Allergens, germs and toxic gases like formaldehyde enter the home from outside or are carried in, which creates a need to purify the air.
Top 5 plants for clean air
Plants absorb carbon dioxide and emit clean oxygen. Some plants also purify the air. NASA conducted a study to determine the best plants for air purification. The research document stated that "house plants can purify and rejuvenate air within our houses and workplaces, safeguarding us all from any side effects connected with prevalent toxins such as formaldehyde, ammonia, and also benzene."
The top five plants to clean air according to the study include:
• Areca palm
• Lady palm
• Bamboo palm
• Rubber plant
• Janet Craig dracaena
Including these plants around the home make the air cleaner and add a natural touch to improve decor. However, adding plants for clean air is not going to eliminate dust or pollen.
Salt crystal lamps for air purification
Salt crystal products help to reduce airborne irritants, allergens, and pathogens, such as fungi and bacteria. Salt crystal lamps consist of a crystallized salt structure with a light inside. Salt crystal candles are also available.
Salt naturally attracts water. Salt crystal lamps pull water vapor out of the air, which means it attracts things like pollen that are floating around in the air as well. When the water vapor, plus hitchhikers like pollen, hit the crystal structure, the salt dissolves the vapor. Turning salt crystal lamps on improves the air purification process because the lamp creates heat, but they work even when turned off.
Salt crystal products are generally small, but are sold in various sizes to fit different indoor areas.
Ventilation for good air quality in the home
Another important strategy to purify the air is proper ventilation. Opening windows, adding exhaust fans and installing well functioning exhaust systems in appliances helps to carry pollutants outside.
Ventilating homes also reduces moisture levels. Too much moisture indoors contributes to mold, a major problem for indoor air quality.
Risks of poor indoor air quality
Poor air quality in the home can lead to health issues. Allergens such as pollen, dander and dust can cause unpleasant allergic reactions. Cigarette smoke in the home leads to serious and potentially fatal complications, even from secondhand smoke.
Toxic gases like formaldehyde may lead to a range of issues. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen, yet is found in glues, insecticides, carpet, and wood materials in the home or office. It is also in cigarette smoke. Breathing in formaldehyde may cause rashes, coughing, and irritation of the throat, nose and eyes. People with asthma are particularly sensitive to formaldehyde.
Improving air quality in the home and other indoor areas can cut back on health problems. Clean air also smells fresher and feels less stuffy, which creates a more welcoming environment.