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Beware Some Common Houseplants Are Poisonous

There are a number of houseplants that contain toxins that children and pets should avoid. Houseplants are great because they can help to clear the air of pollutants such as formaldehyde, and other volatile organic compounds. That makes plants like devils ivy and philodendron ideal plants to have for clean air, but they are not ideal for houses that have small children or pets in them. The Children’s Hospital in Boston has stated that plants are the second leading cause of poisoning in children.

Dieffenbachia is a beautiful large leafed tropical plant. Unfortunately they contain high levels of the compound oxalic acid. This can cause dermatitis, severe eye irritation and damage. Dieffenbachia is also known as dumb cane, and there is a reason for that.  If you injest it you will find out the reason it gained this name. The oxalic acid in the plant can cause swelling in the mouth, tongue, and throat. Furthermore people typically loose their voice.

Dieffenbachia is not the only plant that has oxalic acid in it. Calcium oxalate is also found in philodendrons and devils ivy (also known as pathos). As with the dumb cane, the symptoms of poison with these two plants is the same.

The beautifully flowerd hydrangeas that some people keep around the house are also poisonous. Since these are larger plants they tend to sit on the floor right where children can get into them. Hydrangeas contain a compound called cyanogenic glycoside. When plants containing this are chewed you end up with hydrogen cyanide. Those suffering from poisoning from this compound can suffer from muscle weakness, headaches, gastrointestinal tract issues, and heart problems.

Plants must be kept out of the reach of children if you decide to have them for their air purifying qualities. As many of you know, it is almost impossible to teach a child to keep something out of their mouth.  You are just better off not having it around them.

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July 20, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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