Indoor plants are no longer to be considered only pleasing visual distractions in our offices, but as an essential element to our health. ‘Eco-friendly’, living air purifiers are a must.
Indoor air pollution has given rise to the term “Sick Building Syndrome” where the buildings’ occupants are made sick by the air they breathe – allergies, asthma, eye, nose and throat irritations, fatigue and headaches.
The plants used in interior plantscaping come from rainforest environments where the soil is low in nutrients. Vegetative matter decomposes rapidly in the tropics releasing chemicals into the surrounding rainforest air. Hungry plants eat these chemicals. They will do the same in an office given adequate light and care. The plant will grow and relish the conditions, even the polluting volatile organic compounds (VOC’s.)
Buildings can cause problems
“Sick buildings” have either poor ventilation or badly serviced air-conditioning and contain construction materials and/or furnishings that produce noxious emissions. Most commercial buildings constructed during the past three decades are also more tightly sealed than older buildings, thus concentrating noxious emissions.
Most people work, shop and relax in these “sick buildings”. “Sick buildings” are a potential health hazard!
Living plants can help solve the problems associated with “sick buildings”. The correct placement of suitable plants will reduce toxicity levels in poorly ventilated buildings and increase the effectiveness of existing heating and cooling systems.
NASA Research Proves Plants Control Indoor Air Pollution
NASA established that indoor plants filter at least three chemicals: benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. Low levels of these chemicals are released into virtually every modern environment. benzene is a solvent used in petrol, ink, oil, paint, plastic and rubber. Formaldehyde is present in virtually all indoor environments: urea-formaldehyde resins are used in foam insulation, particle board and pressed-wood products; it is also present in tobacco smoke, natural gas and kerosene. Trichloroethylene is used in metal degreasers, dry-cleaning solvents, inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes and adhesives.
Recent environmental studies have shown that air pollution indoors is a major cause of public exposure to air pollution. Sustained exposure to these chemicals causes chronic health problems. Living plants do reduce the levels of these and other chemicals.
Chemicals (per cent) removed by plants from a selaed chamber during 24 hr period:
Many other plants will also improve indoor air quality. NASA is continually testing other plants. Interior Plantscapers can advise on the best plants for you to use.
Living Plants Promote Health
Living plants convert the carbon dioxide we exhale to oxygen, which is vital to our survival. Recent NASA experiments in the USA prove that living plants do even more to cleanse and revitalise the air we breathe. They found that plant leaves and roots and soil bacteria work together to take in airborne pollutants, process them and then release clean air. Living plants release moisture, providing a natural means of maintaining correct humidity levels.
By using plants to maintain a high standard of air quality, employers can ensure a high level of employee productivity. Illnesses associated with poor air quality and low humidity, such as sore and itchy throats, congestion, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and skin rashes, cause high levels of absenteeism. Worksafe Australia reports that 9% of the workforce take off at least one day from work every fortnight because of sickness and the highest single percentage of related illnesses are of a respiratory nature. Reports from CDC are also pointing to abnormal levels of absenteeism resulting from poor workplace environments, see http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/workorg/risks.html.
Which plants to use
The US-based Plants For Clean Air Council was established following NASA’s research into the use indoors of living plants, and recommends a range of plants for high, medium and low-light conditions.
Interior Plants LLC can help you choose eco-friendly plants that promote health and productivity in your office.