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Air Supply: Green Power at Home

Use houseplants to boost indoor air quality.

Even during the warm summer months, most of us spend our days behind closed windows and doors. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend 90 percent of our time inside, where air quality can actually be worse than it is outside. Yet there’s a simple solution—houseplants—that can help combat allergies, respiratory conditions, and symptoms of sick building syndrome.Air-purifying plants such as moth orchids, bamboo palms, mums, and dracaenas filter out carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene, while also releasing oxygen and raising the humidity level.You’ll need about one potted plant per 100 square feet of office or home space, says NASA, which famously conducted a clean air study of plants and their role in reducing pollutants in the air. As always with plants, some houseplants can be toxic if eaten by small children or pets, so do double-check for safety based on your circumstances.Boston fernThis hardy perennial is forgiving, tolerating occasional lapses in watering. Also called a sword fern, this plant helps clean formaldehyde and mol …

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