Household plants ward off cancer

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Dangers of VOCs(NaturalHealth365) Household plants are not just for decoration – they can be a life-saver. That’s because plants have the natural ability to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the environment. And, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these VOCs can cause a wide variety of health problems including, nose and throat discomfort; headaches; allergic skin reaction; nausea; fatigue; dizziness; and even cancer.

Where do VOCs come from? Unfortunately, these nasty chemicals are everywhere within most (modern) homes. In fact, the EPA states that “VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors”. Paints and lacquers; household cleaning supplies; pesticides; building materials and furniture; office equipment, such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials – including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions emit VOCs.

We’ve got to clean up our immediate living space. According to B.C. Wolverton PHD, a former NASA research scientist and the author of How to Grow Fresh Air, the vapor of formaldehyde and other chemicals are known to cause cancer. But certain house plants can help us eliminate the risks.

Making your indoor living space green and clean

House plants give off oxygen and help remove chemicals, which in turn reduces both the toxic load on the body and supports respiratory and neurological health.

A two year study, conducted by NASA scientist and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, researching a dozen plants found that certain leafy greens can absorb hazardous contaminants and produce clear air. Let’s take a closer look.


The NASA study found that chrysanthemums were effective at removing benzene from the air. Benzene itself is one of the most common odorless pollutants found in inks, plastics, dyes, detergents, gasoline, pharmaceuticals, and pesticides.

The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that benzene causes cancer in humans. Benzene is a notorious cause of bone marrow failure. Substantial quantities of epidemiologic, clinical, and laboratory studies link benzene to aplastic anemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and lymphoblastic leukemia.

The American Petroleum Institute stated, in 1948, that “the only absolutely safe concentration for benzene is zero”.

Peace Lily

This is a beautiful perennial plant that contains large leaves, which act as a vacuum for formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, and other pollutants. This plant is considered the ultimate air freshener.

The Environmental Protection Agency released the final human health assessment for trichloroethylene and for the first time classified the widely used solvent as carcinogenic to humans by all routes of exposure.

Formaldehyde is used in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, fiberboard besides glues, adhesives, permanent-press fabrics and insulation material, and is a known carcinogen.

Bamboo Palm

This is a sturdy plant and it gets rid of some formable toxins such as, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, xylene and chloroform.

By the way, according to the United States Department of Labor, chronic exposure to xylene can cause kidney and liver damage.

Boston Fern

The Boston fern is considered a natural humidifier; they release moisture into the air, and remove benzene, formaldehyde and xylene.

Snake Plant

This is a widely used ornamental plant from the evergreen perennial species. NASA scientists have found that this plant has the amazing ability to absorb formaldehyde, nitrogen oxides, and other chemicals in the home.

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen is a popular household plant, because it grows with little water and minimum light. It is an excellent air purifier; it filters out airborne toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde.

NASA’s former senior research scientist Dr, Bill Wolverton stated, “we feel the future will provide an even stronger argument that common indoor landscaping plants can be a very effective part of a system used to provide pollution free homes and work places.”

So, what are we waiting for? More and more toxins are being introduced into the world – with no end in sight. To protect our health, let’s beautify the home with lots of life giving plants.

About the author: Blanche Levine has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She has the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in natural healing including Naturopaths, scientist and energy healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.


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  • His Lordshhip Pierre

    I like the idea of having plants indoors, but (typical South African here) the best option is to leave windows open all the time – yes, even in winter! Everyone should be aiming for reducing their energy needs, thus their CO2 emissions, making outside air cleaner too.

  • Elinor

    Glad to see this article. Good reminder for me too about the Peace Lily and why I should buy one for my house. Also good, since I have several Snake Plants (botanical name: Sansaveria) all over my house and even in bathrooms which location they just love (humidity from shower). Thanks for posting.