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This Week...

Woman holding nose

Use Your Purse to get fresh air… from houseplants. 

Could your home or workplace use a little fresh air?

Don’t reach for a can of artificial air freshener. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most air fresheners contain formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, p- dichlorobenzene, and aerosol propellants, chemicals that actually make the air worse, not better.

In fact, the EPA says you need to “take certain health and safety precautions” if you use air fresheners because they “are usually highly flammable and also strong irritants to eyes, skin, and throat.”

Those that disperse heavy fragrances can cause headaches and general irritability.

Additionally, says the EPA, “the solid fresheners usually cause death if eaten by people or pets.”  Not that you’d serve them as a main course, but accidents do happen, especially if Fido or your three-year-old mistakes the solid freshener for a treat.

House Plant

The alternative to the concocted “garden-like” smells many fresheners promise? How about an "indoor" garden?

Studies conducted for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration show that some houseplants can clear carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – like the kind found in air “fresheners” – from indoor air and help prevent “sick building syndrome.”  

What works best? 

  • Boston ferns
  • Peace lily
  • Palm plants

Three types of palms – areca, lady and bamboo – received the highest overall ratings for their ease of growth and maintenance, resistance to insects, and amount of moisture released by the plant, along with ability to remove chemical vapors.

Note: If you have allergies, you can put a layer of aquarium gravel on the soil’s surface to minimize the growth of mold.

There’s more information on indoor air quality at Your World.


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Women spend $.85 of every dollar in the marketplace. That's a lot of power packed in a purse. Why not use it to get the world you want?

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