Plants Combat Sick Building Syndrome
The problem is one we are all familiar with. Contemporary buildings are sealed tightly to increase HVAC efficiency. Inside sealed environments, man-made articles such as paints, plastics, insulation, plywood, carpets, synthetic fabrics and detergents emit up to 300 pollutants. However, leafy green help is available. NASA-funded studies have demonstrated that plants commonly used in interior plantscaping act much like mini rain forests -- cleansing the air of many harmful pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene.
Material distributed by the Plants for Clean Air Council shows that plants remove pollutants in varying quantities. Golden Pathos, philodendron, corn plants and bamboo palms are particularly effective in cleansing the air of formaldehyde. Spathiphyllum (peace lily) and dracena wameckei and dracena "Janet Craig" remove quantities of benzene, such as that from tobacco smoke. Marginata, warneckei and spathiplyllum work well in removing trichloroethylene. This group recommends a minimum of one potted plant for each 100 square feet of floor space.
Plants Keep Humidity Within A Healthy Range
Through their natural processes of transpiration and evaporation, office plants add moisture to dry, overheated air often found in sealed office environments. At the same time (and quite interestingly), studies show that plants do not add moisture in significant amounts when the air is already moist. A study conducted at Washington State University suggests that plants even help regulate humidity. When plants were added to an office environment, the relative humidity stabilized within the recommended "healthy" range of 30-60%.