August 28, 2009
This is an updated version of an earlier article titled Potted Plants Ease Indoor Air Pollution.
Top Ten Potted Plants for Eliminating Indoor Air Pollution
by Sarah (Steve) Mosko, PhD.
- E-Magazine as Plants for Purification, Jan. 27, 2010
- Vall-E-Vents, suppl. to Southern Sierran, January, 2010.
- Orange Coast Voice, Dec. 16, 2009
- Fullerton Obsrver, December 2009, page 9
Peace Lily ranks in the top 10. Photo courtesy of Noodle snacks.
Eliminating indoor air pollution can be as simple as dotting your house or office with potted plants, according to research stretching back as far as the space program of the 1980s.
It’s a widely held misconception that staying indoors avoids exposure to air pollutants. Indoor air quality, in fact, is usually worse because contaminants that emanate from a vast assortment of consumer products add to the pollution that drifts in from the outside.
Given that urban dwellers pass 90% of their time inside, any strategy to improve indoor air quality is of widespread interest, especially one as appealing and environmentally sustainable as adding potted plants to the décor.
Read the rest of this entry »
May 1, 2008
This article updated August 2009
Appeared in Orange Coast Voice newspaper May 2008, page 11.
Potted Plants Ease Indoor Air Pollution
by Sarah S. Mosko, Ph.D.
Australian researchers heeded by Margaret Burchett at the University of Technology have revealed fascinating twists on the potted plant story. Photo courtesy Orange County Voice.
It is a widespread misconception that staying indoors avoids exposure to air pollutants.
Indoor air quality, in fact, is generally worse because contaminants that arise from a vast assortment of consumer products add to the pollution that drifts in from the outside. Given that urban dwellers pass 90% of their time inside, strategies to improve indoor air quality are of interest to nearly everyone.
Indoor Air Chemistry
The chief forms of pollutants generated indoors are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that off-gas primarily from common petroleum-based products. They are impossible to avoid since the sources are nearly endless: furniture, carpeting, paints, varnishes, paint strippers, synthetic building materials, air fresheners, cleaning solutions, toilet bowl deodorizers, personal care products, tobacco smoke, pesticides, and solvents in inks and adhesives.
The number of VOCs is also long – the U.S. EPA indicated that more than 900 had been identified in indoor air in a 1989 Report of Congress. While some pose no known danger to health, others are Read the rest of this entry »