Our Toxic Lives: How Plants Clean Indoor Air

As you may have seen, my last article was about just how toxic our lives were. I was very conscious about how potentially negative this article was, so I am adding this little article as an example of a very simply solution to improving indoor air quality. Quite simply, we need plants.

Research has shown that the air in plant-filled rooms contains 50-60 percent fewer airborne molds and bacteria compared with the equivalent rooms without plants. Dr. B. C. Wolverton of the Environmental Research Laboratory of the John C. Stennis Space Center in the US, has conducted innovative research investigating the role of natural biological processes for air purification. He has found that plants can suck airborne chemical pollutants out of the air, he said: “After some study, we’ve unraveled the mystery of how plants can act as the lungs and kidneys of these buildings.


There are a number of sites that back up this claim with research:


In fact, there are many benefits of adding plants to rooms, be it at home or in the office:

  • Increased positive feelings and reduced feelings of anxiety, anger and sadness.
  • Reduction of sound levels
  • Reduction of stress levels
  • Control of humidity to the within the optimum levels for human health
  • Cooling effect
  • Absorption of carbon dioxide and emission of oxygen refreshing the air
  • Improved concentration levels leading to improved productivity particularly with those working with computers
  • Reduction of absenteeism in the workplace
  • Faster recovery from mental tiredness
  • Interiors feel spacious, looked after and clean
  • People prefer to occupy rooms that contain plants
  • Improved image – interiors are perceived as “more expensive”

So here we have something that is fairly easy to do, to really improve our home and working environments.

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