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A short guide to depolluting plants: Main sources of pollution

There are two main sources of pollution in indoor air: volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and combustion products.

Volatile organic compounds

You can not distinguish them visually, but they are present in most homes. Among all these substances, here are a few, and some of their harmful effects.

> Formaldehyde (or formaldehyde)

Health Effects: Formaldehyde can cause headaches, allergies, breathing problems, and even cancer.

It is present in : some chipboard, glues and adhesives, cleaning products, cosmetics (like some nail polish), paints, carpets, cigarette smoke.

> Glycol ethers

Effects on health: they are numerous, and they affect in particular the fertility.

They are present in: certain lacquers, paints, varnishes, glues, soaps and cosmetics, wood treatment products.

> Benzene and its derivatives (xylene, toluene, styrene)

Health effects: they are also numerous, especially with a carcinogenic risk, for repeated exposures.

They are present in: certain paints, inks, plastics, insulating materials, fuels, detergents, cigarette smoke.

> Acetone

Health effects: Acetone can cause various manifestations including irritation of the mucous membranes, eyes, etc.

It is present in: plastics, solvents.

In fact, the toxicity of these substances depends on the contact we have with them (time, sources and circumstances of exposure, means of protection ...). One thing is certain: the professional environment in contact with these substances repeatedly or significantly is the most exposed. This explains why protective measures are essential for some employees.

Another certainty: if some plants have depolluting virtues, do not expect miracles. Their mere presence does not guarantee, for example, the total elimination of glycol ether vapors that would be present in large quantities in the atmosphere.

Products of combustion

> Carbon monoxide

Health Effects: Carbon monoxide causes nausea, discomfort and dizziness. Inhaled too much, it can be fatal.

It is present in: cigarette smoke, due to the combustion of fireplaces, wood stoves, a water heater, an auxiliary heater.

> The oxide of sulfur and nitrogen (combustions).

> Cigarette smoke
A cigarette contains on average 4, 000 chemical components, of which about 50 are carcinogenic.

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