Protect your family, reduce your health risks, save your money, and discover some of the best plants available to decorate, clean the air you breathe, and enjoy your own Habitat for Health home improvement. How you might ask? Well NASA research has consistently shown that living, green and flowering plants can remove toxic chemicals from indoor air. You can use plants in your home decor to improve the quality of the air and make your home a more pleasant place to feel better and enjoy life.

Some Background on Indoor Air Pollution

Beginning in the 1970s, both new and remodeled buildings were tightly sealed to reduce energy consumption. The building industry also turned away from natural building products and furnishings to synthetic products. Indoor air quality became a major issue as airborne contaminants were trapped in the indoor environment.

Carpeting is one of the major sources of indoor air pollution. Although newly installed carpeting produces the most complaints from emission of irritating chemicals, older carpets harbor dust, dust mites and microbes. Even though the outgassing of chemicals from some carpeting is known to cause serious health concerns, the building industry continues to rely heavily upon its use.

In August 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted a report to Congress on the quality of indoor air found in ten public access buildings. This report stated that more than 900 volatile organic chemicals have been identified in newly constructed buildings and that some levels were 100 times greater than normal levels. This report also stated “that sufficient evidence exists to conclude that indoor air pollution represents a major portion of the public’s exposure to air pollution and may pose serious acute and chronic health risks.” EPA estimated that indoor air pollution is costing tens of billions of dollars per year in medical costs and lost worker productivity.

Building Industry Solutions

Because of health concerns and vocal complaints by building occupants, ventilation was increased to purge the stale indoor air and introduce outside air. However, there are two inherent problems with increasing ventilation rates. First, energy-efficiency is compromised. Secondly, outside air is not always clean, especially in metropolitan areas. The building industry still has not adequately addressed the two-fold problem of providing indoor air quality and energy-efficiency.

How to do it yourself

Home improvement can include home decorating using healthy and economical combinations of material and technology to improve indoor air quality and energy-efficiency.

Visit the Habitat for Health web site regularly to get the latest updates, links, and valuable information like books on How to Grow Fresh Air and subscribe to get a free article each month about plants known to clean the air.

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