Improving Office Air Quality With Indoor Plants – Good For Business

Introduction

People have worked indoors for many centuries, but it is only in the last few decades that the indoor environment is generally totally sealed, air conditioned, and filled with synthetic materials that can out gas chemicals into the air. These chemicals called VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, can have concentrations several times higher then that present in outdoor city air, and are recognized as having a deleterious effect on the health of people working in this environment.

Over the last twenty years it has become recognized that indoor plants have the ability to remove these VOCs from the indoor air, or at least substantially reduce their concentration.

This article out lines the health effect thought to be caused by these VOCs in indoor air, and looks at the research behind the removal of these compounds using indoor plants. As the most effective way to keep plants healthy in offices is indoor plant hire, it is suggested that indoor plant hire is the preferred option of maintaining plants in offices.

Air quality inside offices

The use of synthetic building materials, printers, computers, cleaners and binnenmilieu personal care products, combined with the practice of air conditioning buildings, has resulted in the build up of chemicals called volatile organic compounds in buildings. Below are some building materials and the chemical they exude:

Adhesives, ceiling tiles, paints, printers Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene and Xylene.
Photocopiers, particle board, Formaldehyde

It will be shown later in this article that the indoor plants used in indoor plant hire can remove the above chemicals.

Amongst other contaminants, over 300 VOCs have been found in office air (Weshler Shields 1996) as well as other toxic gasses such as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide (Ross 1996).
Frequently no single pollutant having toxic potential is present in unhealthy amounts, yet combined they form part of a chemical soup, which when combined with ozone can produce hydroxyl radicals (Weshler 1996).




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