There should be a “take a plant to work” day. And while you’re at it, you should keep one on your desk. Or, better yet, have two or more in your office and for every room in your home for cleaner, fresher air.
Most people spend 90 percent of their lives inside, where the indoor air they breathe contains at least 10 times more pollutants than the outdoors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Instead of wearing a mask to work or around your home, there’s a natural solution: indoor houseplants. Plants filter the very air you breathe round the clock from common pollutants and continuously release oxygen and moisture in homes and offices.
The mere presence of plants has been proven to lessen environmental pollution, increase labor productivity and reduce the cost of health care.
What’s in the Air?
Modern life depends on technology, but ordinary products like paints, tobacco smoke, printer inks and even carpets hold hidden dangers that plants can help reduce.
Today, there are over 80,000 synthetic chemicals that emit off-gases. Formaldehyde is one of the leading chemical compounds found in indoor air emissions and is a component in paper products, paints, upholstery, drapes and pressed wood products.
A recent study published in the British Medical Association’s journal found that children exposed to higher levels of VOCs were four times more likely to suffer from asthma than children who were not.
Plants improve air quality through their natural filtering ability. Indoor houseplants absorb up to 87 percent of VOCs like ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene found in many homes and offices.
And certain indoor houseplants ‘clean’ the air every 24 hours. How? They absorb toxins into the leaves and root zone where they’re turned into nutrients. Some tropical plants actually suppress airborne mold.
Researchers studied the impact of indoor houseplants on dust reduction in office spaces. When indoor houseplants were present, dust particulates were reduced by 20 percent compared to rooms without plants.
Working Day and Night
Some of the hardest working plants are the peace lilies, ferns, palms and spider plants.
Bring a Plant to Work
Put a plant on your desk and feel happier, enjoy better health and be more productive. Office workers should have at least one plant in their “personal breathing space” where most of the work is done to effectively remove indoor pollutants. Two areca palms or lady palms should remove sufficient VOCs to significantly improve the indoor air quality in a room.
Snake plants, broad sword ferns and rubber plants are among the top 10 air purifiers recommended by experts. They’re easy to grow, are natural humidifiers and remove airborne chemicals. Other green heroes are chrysanthemums, Gerbera daisies and spider plants.
Location, Location, Location
Which plant you choose, and where you place your plants is important to reap optimum benefits. Consider the light, humidity, and temperature of your indoor spaces to determine the best choices for your home. Put a Majesty Palm in your living room, fern in the family room and peace lilies in the kitchen. Add golden pothos or heart leaf philodendron for beauty and maximum air cleansing benefits.
In your fast-paced life, plant-filled rooms help keep you in touch with nature and just the ability to view living plants enhances our psychological and physiological well-being.
To learn more about the fascinating world of indoor houseplants, visit www.O2foryou.org.