For centuries it has been acknowledged that plants are beneficial for our physical and mental well-being, and more recent studies have quantified why plants are so important in our modern environment.
Today’s homes, schools, hospitals and offices buildings tend to be well sealed, insulated and heated and this has been found to result in poor indoor air quality. Sick Building Syndrome – where symptoms including eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, fatigue and irritability, chest tightness and wheezing, skin dryness and/or irritation are reported – is now understood to relate air quality. Furnishings, detergents, wall coverings and paints can all give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – a large group of substances including toluene, xylene, benzene etc. which can result in these symptoms.
NASA has a particular interest in air quality in sealed environments such as space stations, and their studies have found that houseplants are very effective at removing pollutants and improving air quality. Their findings were supported by scientists from the University of Copenhagen who carried out a wide-ranging review of over 100 studies into the impact of houseplants on air quality.
Different houseplants absorb pollutants at different rates, and below we have highlighted some of those that are most effective. And the good news is that houseplants are both aesthetically pleasing and inexpensive!