Parents today are among the most well-educated, well-informed of all the generations. We research every week of pregnancy to make sure we are eating the right foods, sleeping on the correct side so as to not cut off circulation to the baby, and we make our own baby food once the little bundle arrives. We measure slats on baby beds, check consumer reports on car seats, and make sure there is no lead in their toys. But, do we plan on – plants?

Tight Houses

Houses today are built to be super tight. Double paned windows help to keep energy costs lower, and insulation keeps heat in during cold months. Careful caulking around siding and openings keep bugs out of the walls and dirt off of the furniture. But, sometimes our houses are too tight.

The reality is that the air in your house needs to be changed out every few hours. Air conditioning units can help with this, but often, the air intake is also from a closed source. This creates an atmosphere in which germs can thrive. Air is exhaled and simply recycled, getting dryer in the process and getting more stale. You’ve heard the term “get some fresh air”? Well, there is a reason behind that. We need fresh air to thrive.

Plants Freshen Air

The truth is, plants freshen air. They “breathe” just like people and animals do, and clean the air as they do so. In fact, NASA has published a Clean Air Study that proves that plants will not only absorb carbon dioxide in the air, they will scrub it clean of certain chemicals. Benzene, trichloroethane, and formaldehyde are used in the manufacture of many household items, such as carpet, wallpaper, drywall, and even paint. Some plants absorb those chemicals, releasing clean oxygen in place of the chemicals.

Good House Plants

If you want to create a healthy environment for your child, there are some plants that will help. The chrysanthemum and the peace lily, or spathiphyllum, for example, will scrub the 5 most common toxins from your air: benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, ammonia, and formaldehyde.

English ivy, dracaena, and the variegated snake plant (mother-in-law’s tongue) remove all but the ammonia from the air in your home.

Just about any wide-leafed plant will remove formaldehyde from your home. There are some good places online you can purchase these plants, the first place I’d try is It may also be possible to find some of these varieties in brick and mortar shops.

Bad House Plants

There are some bad plants, or plants that are not as safe to have around children or pets. Cacti, for one, are not such a good idea, for obvious reasons. But there are other plants as well with more subtle dangers.

Some downright poisonous plants, thankfully, are not usually used as house plants, but you should be aware that foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, and tansy are all poisonous.

The house plants that have given people the most problem are dumb cane and caladium. Dumb cane cleans the air quite well, but numbs the tongue if it is eaten – hence the name.

With good house plants in your home, it will not only be more beautiful, it will be healthier, too.

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