Our home is our sanctuary; our safe haven from the outside world, where we spend much of our time these days; yet how safe really is it from a health perspective?
Our modern homes are insulated and built for comfort and energy efficiency. However, indoor air pollution is proving to be a big problem and threatens the health of all of us. The reason for this is that many modern day materials used in building construction and interior furnishings contain chemicals which give off toxic fumes known as VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), which can play havoc with our respiratory systems. New carpets and soft furnishings are generally no longer made of natural fibres like wool and cotton, in favour for synthetic substitutes and have generally been treated with chemicals including glues and resins. Many paints and sealants are equally damaging, although there are more natural alternatives available which I shall explore in a future blog. Our homes are sealed so well that during winter months the air can become too dry, adding to the risk of asthma and allergies. In addition our numerous electronic devices also release VOC’s into the atmosphere.
Indoor plants can play an important role in improving the air that we breathe. Some of the best from this perspective and also easiest to care for are palms, rubber plants, ivy, Boston ferns, and my favourite the peace lily. However, I suggest choosing plants which you love and make you feel good. I also aim to have a similar number of plants in a room as there are electronic devices; TV’s, modems, phones etc. for maximum effect.
If you are interested in finding out more about this subject, the damaging chemicals and more plants that can be helpful in purifying the home I can recommend the book ‘How to Grow Fresh Air’ by Dr. BC Wolverton.