Sick House Syndrome (SHS)-have you ever heard this term? It has been bantered around quietly since a NASA study years ago but public awareness of SHS came to light loudly with hurricane Katrina. Unknowing to so many well meaning, construction companies and celebrities donating and building temporary housing; they made the rescued people ill. Today, the composition of nearly all of our building materials, furniture, and daily living items are made from synthetics, glues, resins, and chemical ingredient lists a mile long that permeate our rooms called offgassing. Formaldehyde, benzene, polyvinylchloride (pvc), and trichloroethylene being the undisputed kings. I believe they will soon rule the world.
The unsuspecting, naïve souls we are-we love it-as Lynyrd Skynyrd sang..”oooh that smell-can’t you smell that smell? Yes, the new car-yummy, the new carpet-clean aroma, or the newly painted walls-so refreshing. Hmmm but is it. It is chemicals that give us the ‘smell’ of everything from new mattresses & bedding, furniture, all paints-glues-varnishes, plastics, to printer inks, and..shoes & clothing. And the list goes on an on beyond my writing space here.
In the winter months especially; at both home and work we are sequestered indoors with little to no fresh air flow. The always present dust, pet dander, and microbe allergens combined with these chemical cocktails really doesn’t give us much chance for a healthy, winter existence. Our windows are closed for months with little to zero fresh air.
However…we have a secret weapon as always in Nature with indoor houseplants. Plants and trees are the lungs of our world as they alone produce the oxygen that make all life on earth possible, which is why cutting our forests is so perilous to our life on the planet. They add moisture, suppress the airborne allergens, and magically siphon out the 100’s of chemical toxins now used in our daily products. Not least of all, they also lift our spirits and decorate our indoor rooms beautifully by bringing a little of the outdoors in-that which most have so alienated themselves from.
Remember those palms always gracing the Victorian parlors? Evidently they instinctively knew something 150 years ago we don’t. A 6 ft. Areca Palm will release 1 quart of water to the air every 24 hours and remove as much pollutants as any portable air cleaner & injecting the same amount of water as small humidifier-electricity free. Now that is real eco-green living.
I am presently compiling a complete plant list with ratings for specific chemical removal . There are night workers like the old fashioned Snake Plant or ‘mother-in-laws tongue” which are best for your bedroom obviously, while others work better in daylight. Some remove more of one chemical than another making them suitable for nurseries or specific businesses.
Do you own or work in a nail salon? Come by the store and pick up a Spathiphyllum- aka the standard Peace Lily; they are the hardest workers for acetone. Who knew……
Thank Nature as it holds the cure to all our problems-it is our friend- always has been.
Think Green ,