Colors For Your Health: Plants

It is pretty much expected that we will encounter toxins everyday. Whether it is plastics, cleaning products, or other synthetic materials, we are surrounded by harmful toxins. Toxins that in large enough doses could kill us, so even encountering small traces of these can probably lead to health problems, and would logically be something to avoid, if given the chance. Lucky for us our plant friends live to clean the air around us – thanks guys.

In the June issue of GOOD Magazine they put together a great info-graphic of the three most common household toxins and the plant species that research has shown to cleanse and detoxify the air of these potentially harmful toxins.

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The three most common household toxins, as broken down by the GOOD info-graphic, are:

  • Trichloroethylene: Effects similar to alcohol poisoning: headache and dizzinness, with long-term damage to the liver and kidneys
  • Formaldehyde: A very common indoor pollutant; can cause headaches, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing; is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA
  • Benzene: Can cause drowsiness, dizziness, vomiting, and unconsciousness; has a pleasant smell, which is why it used to be a common ingredient in aftershave


Photo by WebMic

  • Trichloroethylene: Varnishes
  • Benzene: Oils

Toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene, radon, trichloroethylene and carbon monoxide can come from a variety of seemingly innocuous household sources like cleaning materials, your furnace, and even your house itself. These chemicals can contribute to allergies, asthma and a host of other conditions including cancer.

NASA studies have shown that the presences of plants in your indoor environment can significantly reduce your exposure to these toxic airborne chemicals and greatly improve the quality of living. Since many of us spend so much time indoors at home and at work it’s very important that we bring some of the outdoors in and here are some of the best plants to do that with…

Golden Pathos

Photo by Plant Oasis

  • Formaldehyde: Carpet

Corn Plant

Photo by Chris KWM

  • Formaldehyde: Paper Goods

Gerbera Daisies

Photo by shashchatter gerbera daisies

  • Trichloroethylene: Dry Cleaning
  • Benzene: Inks


Photo by Ava Babili

  • Trichloroethylene: Inks
  • Formaldehyde: Household Cleaners


Photo by dinesh valke dieffenbachia

  • Formaldehyde: Plywood

Bamboo Palm

Photo by dinesh valket

  • Formaldehyde: Furniture

Peace Lilly

Photo by Sidereal

  • Trichloroethylene: Paints
  • Benzene: Detergents

English Ivy

Photo by klmonty

  • Benzene: Tobacco Smoke


Photo by ame nielsen

  • Formaldehyde: Particle Board

Spider Plant

Photo by madnzany

  • Formaldehyde: Clothes


Photo by Minette Layne poinsettia

  • Formaldehyde: Water Repellent


Photo by edwardleger

  • Formaldehyde: Foam Insulation

Janet Craig

Photo by 가라곤 Janet Craig

  • Benzene: Synthetic Fabrics

Here is another article on plants that purify your air.

Author: evad
David Sommers has been loving color as COLOURlovers' Blog Editor-in-Chief for the past two years. When he's not neck deep in a rainbow he's loving other things with The Post Family (, a Chicago-based art blog, artist collective & gallery.