6 Pet-Safe Houseplants That Can Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

Improve your home’s air quality with these 6 pet-safe houseplants.

Toxic chemicals enter our homes through common consumer and home building products. Numerous studies on indoor air pollution and the sick building syndrome found that these products give off trace chemicals that become toxic air pollutants.

A NASA study, led by B.C. Wolverton, tested 12 common houseplants that can be used to reduce or remove these air pollutants from our homes, and most of these houseplants were found to be effective. However, we will describe only 6 of these houseplants, as the others were found to be toxic to dogs, cats and horses, based on the database of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Pets can be very susceptible to diseases and allergies due to specific types of environments, pollutants, and even organic or inorganic chemicals that they are exposed to everyday.

Here are the 6 pet-safe houseplants that are effective in removing indoor air pollutants and in improving our homes’ air quality:

1. Boston Fern
Scientific Name: Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis
Family: Dryopteridaceae

2. Areca Palm
also called butterfly palm, yellow palm, golden butterfly palm, cane palm, golden feather palm
Scientific Name: Dypsis lutescens or Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Family: Palmae

3. Bamboo Palm
Also called reed palm, parlor palm, miniature fish tail dwarf palm, good luck palm
Scientific Name: Chamaedorea elegans or Chamaedorea seifrizii
Family: Palmae
In the NASA study, it removed the highest number of micrograms of formaldehyde per plant.

4. Lady Palm
Scientific Name: Rhapis flabelliformus or Rhapis excelsa
Family: Arecaceae

5. Dwarf Date Palm
Scientific Name: Phoenix acaulis or Phoenix roebelenii
Family: Palmae

6. Gerbera Daisy
Also called barberton daisy, transvaal daisy, veldt daisy, African daisy
Scientific Name: Gerbera jamesonii
Family: Compositae

In the NASA study, it removed the highest amount of benzene and highest amount of trichloroentylene (TCE) removed per plant

The NASA study found that the three of the most common toxic indoor air pollutants are the following:
Trichloroethylene or TCE

Benzene is present in products like gasoline, rubber, plastics, paints, oils, inks, detergents and dyes. Repeated contact with benzene can cause eye and skin irritation and inflammation and dermatitis. Inhalation of high levels of benzene can cause headache, nausea, weakness, paralysis, unconsciousness, nervousness, drowsiness and psychological disturbances.

Trichloroethylene or TCE is found in paints, printing inks, adhesives, lacquers, varnishes, and dry-cleaning and degreasing products.  Constant ingestion of TCE causes carcinomas in the liver.

Formaldehyde exists in urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, particle boards, pressed-wood products, consumer paper products like grocery bags and waxed papers, household cleaning agents, floor coverings, kerosene, natural gas and cigarette smoke.  High levels of exposure to formaldehyde can cause allergic contact dermatitis, headaches, asthma and irritation of the eyes and upper respiratory system.