On Friday, I talked about TCE, where it comes from, and what plants are best at getting it out of the air. Today I am going to discuss benzene, another chemical that’s commonly found in and around homes and work spaces.
Benzene is going to be very familiar to most of us from the smell of gasoline. It’s also found in our homes if we heat or cook with natural gas. So most of us have some exposure to it just by driving a car or perhaps by the way we heat our homes.
Fortunately, once again, we can rely on plants (according to NASA) to remove benzene from our environment. Additionally, the NASA study hypothesizes, but was unable to definitively determine, that the beneficial bacteria in the potting mix, activated by the plants roots, also helped to remove some of the benzene. Really interesting stuff!
A list of the bacteria found in the potting mix reads like some of the probiotics compounds that some of us take for our “microbiome.” Hmm. No wonder they say playing in the dirt is good for you!
But I digress. Here are the best plants for removing the benzene from the air:
Gerber Daisy (once again the winner) at over 107,000 micrograms (mcg) per plant in the 24 hour period! Astonishing!
Next was the Florist or pot mum at over 76,000 mcg.
Peace Lily came in third at over 41,000 mcg (let’s hear it for the flowering plants–and even one that likes low light!)
Dracena Warneckei was next at over 39,000.
And the Bamboo Palm rounds out the top 5 with just over 34,000 mcg.
What’s great about this list is that there’s a plant on here for every light situation from full sun to a dark corner and intermediate light as well. And again, these are easily obtainable–and easy to grow–plants.