July 31, 2019 2 min read

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time on your health... sourcing and preparing

healthy foods, exercising adequately, educating yourself on healthy life/work

balance etc. etc. but how many of us realise that our indoor environments could

be making us sick?


This is especially true of winter. With the windows of houses and work spaces

mostly closed, the heaters smashing it out all day and us as humans spending

way too much time indoors.


Sadly our internal environments are rife with factors that can cause poor air

quality. Many household materials such as man-made wood products,

furnishings, drapes, carpets, cleaning products, glues, paints, personal care

products and heaters are all guilty of emitting volatile organic compounds


Common VOCs include Formaldehyde (found in some cosmetics, dish detergent,

fabric softener and carpet cleaner), Benzene (found in some plastics, fabrics,

pesticides and cigarette smoke), Acetone, Toluene and Xylene.

“Concentrations of VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to 10 times higher)

than outdoors.” (soe.environment.gov.au)


These VOCs and other indoor air pollutants (such as ozone) have been linked to

numerous acute conditions, including asthma and nausea, as well as chronic

diseases such as cancer and respiratory illnesses.


Other common side effects of exposure to VOCs are inclusive of, but not

limited to nausea, headaches, dizziness, watery eyes, itchy skin and drowsiness.

“The Department of Health and Human Services (In the US) has determined that

benzene causes cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to high levels of

benzene in the air can cause leukemia, cancer of the blood-forming organs.”




Many years ago scientists at NASA studied the effects indoor plants had on our

inside air quality. In this “clean air study”, NASA concluded that indoor plants were

extremely effective in removing toxins and pollutants from the air. Indoor plants

remove pollutants from the air by absorbing these gases through their leaves and

roots. The microorganisms that live in the soil of potted plants also play an

instrumental role in neutralising VOCs and other pollutants.



The plants pictured below were among the top varieties for improvement of

indoor air quality. It is important to leave the soil exposed to enable the whole

plant to do its thing.


Happy shopping!!


(Golden Pothos)

(Spider Plant)

(Gerbera Daisy)

(Mother in Law's Tongue)

(Peace Lily)


Also check out:

Bamboo palm

Chinese evergreen

English ivy


Janet Craig


Mass cane/Corn cane

Pot mum





Kate Hewett
Kate Hewett

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