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Houseplants, Indoor Air Pollutants, and Allergic ReactionsThe technology of using houseplant leaves for reducing volatile organics inside closed facilities has been demonstrated with formaldehyde and benzene. Philodendrons are among the most effective plants tested to date. Philodendron domesticum had demonstrated the ability to remove formaldehyde from small experimental chambers at a rate of 4.31 micro-g/sq cm leaf surface area with initial starting concentrations of 22 ppm. At initial starting concentrations of 2.3 ppm a formaldehyde removal rate of 0.57 micro-g/sq cm was achieved during a 24 hour test. Aleo vera demonstrated a much higher formaldehyde efficiency removal rate than Philodendron domesticum at low formaldehyde concentrations. During a 24 hour exposure period 5 ppm of formaldehyde were reduced to 0.5 ppm demonstrating a removal efficiency rate of 3.27 micro-g/sq cm. Removal efficiency rates can be expected to decrease with concentration levels because fewer molecules of chemicals come in contact with the leaf surface area. Several centimeters of small washed gravel should be used to cover the surface of pot plants when large numbers of plants are kept in the home. The reason for this is to reduce the exposed area of damp potting soil which encourages the growth of molds (fungi). The leaves of Philodendron domesticum and golden pothos (Scindapsus aureus) have also demonstrated their ability to remove benzene and carbon monoxide from closed chambers. A combination of activated carbon and plant roots have demonstrated the greatest potential for removing large volumes of volatile organics along with smoke and possible radon from closed systems. Although fewer plants are required for this concept a mechanical blower motor must be used to pull or push the air through the carbon-root filter. NASA studies on motor sizes and bioregeneration rates should be completed by 1988.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Wolverton, B. C.
(NASA John C. Stennis Space Center Bay Saint Louis, MS, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1986
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:108057
Meeting Information
Meeting: Otolaryngology, Orthodontics, and Sleep Disorder Conference
Location: Pass Christian, MS
Country: United States
Start Date: December 13, 1986
End Date: December 14, 1986
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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