This is a nonflammable liquid that is used as a solvent in oil, grease, fat, wax and tar and is released into the atmosphere. Most commonly trichloroethylene is found in adhesives, paint and spot removers and white-out correction fluid. Exposure to fumes from this colorless liquid is toxic to the central nervous system. Some people with excess exposure to trichloroethylene have reported headaches, confusion, fatigue and sleepiness.
This toxic substance is created when oil, gasoline or coal are burned. However, benzene is also found in paint, glue, plastics, cigarette smoke and detergent. Short-term exposure to breathing in benzene can lead to headaches, dizziness and drowsiness. Longer-term exposure to benzene can cause reproductive problems, blood disorders and an increased risk of leukemia. This toxin is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known human carcinogen.
Like trichloroethylene, formaldehyde is colorless. It is also strong-smelling and flammable. It is often used in household and building products. Most commonly formaldehyde is used to make particleboard, paper product coating, glue and insulation. Formaldehyde is also used as a germicide, fungicide, disinfectant and preservative.
Most people know that carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. It is also a toxic gas. Carbon monoxide comes from many types of heating equipment including unvented gas space heaters, kerosene heaters, wood stoves, gas water heaters and fireplaces. Carbon monoxide is also created from vehicle gas engines (think exhaust fumes) as well as cigarette smoke. Exposure to this toxic gas can result in dizziness, headaches, disorientation, fatigue and nausea.
Although it is in the succulent family, aloe removes both benzene and formaldehyde form the air. Aloe vera gel is well-known for healing cuts and burns. Aloe vera liquid is also a good intestinal detoxifier.
This common plant is also known as the mother-in-law plant because it’s said to look like a sharp tongue. Sansaveria removes formaldehyde from its environment.
All three of these plants will remove both benzene and trichloroethylene.
In some areas, English ivy is an invasive species, but kept indoors in a pot, it will remove formaldehyde. Both English ivy and Golden pothos are well suited as hanging plants and are easy to grow, even for people with brown thumbs.
Ferns are a little trickier to grow, but are both beautiful and useful. Boston ferns are natural air humidifiers. They also grow best in damp air but can be grown in drier climates with adequate misting of the leaves. Boston ferns remove formaldehyde and are considered by many among the best air purifiers.
These plants pull triple duty by removing xylene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air. Dracenas are often found in plant arrangements found at florist shops and can live a very long time without a lot of maintenance.
This is a great plant for small spaces and makes a terrific humidifier. It also removes trichloroethylene and benzene from the air.
While this is a common plant, often found in plant arrangements at floral shops, it is highly toxic to pets and children. On the plus side, peace lilies remove trichloroethylene, benzene, formaldehyde as well as toluene
xylene from the air. They are one of the most efficient air filtering plants because of all the toxins they remove.
There is hardly an easier house plant to grow than the spider plant. Unlike peace lilies, spider plants are non-toxic and safe around pets. Spider plants can remove trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide and xylene.
Detoxifying through the soft waste (lymph) and solid waste (intestinal) systems is helpful in keeping the body clean. As an adjunct to regular detoxification, reducing or eliminating exposure to toxins is also helpful. Optimal air filtration is easy with placement of these house plants. Try having one plant for every 100 square feet of living space. As the modern world grows increasingly toxic, it’s important to do what you can to keep your own world as clean and toxin-free as possible.