People have worked inside for several centuries, but it’s just in the last couple of decades the indoor environment is usually completely sealed, air conditioned, and full of synthetic substances that can out gas substances into the atmosphere.
Volatile Organic Chemicals
These compounds called VOCs, or volatile organic chemicals, can have concentrations several times higher then present in outside city atmosphere, and are known as having a deleterious impact on the health of individuals working in this environment.
Over the past twenty years it has been recognized that indoor plants are able to eliminate these VOCs in the indoor air, or at least substantially reduce their concentration.
This article out traces the health effect thought to result from these VOCs in indoor air, and looks at the research supporting the elimination of the compounds using indoor plants. As the best way to keep plants healthy in offices is indoor plant hire, it’s suggested that indoor plant hire is the preferred option of maintaining plants in offices.
Air quality within offices
The use of synthetic building materials, printers, computers, cleaners and personal care products, together with the practice of ac buildings, has led to the build up of chemicals called volatile organic compounds in buildings. Below are some construction materials and the substance they exude:
Adhesives, ceiling tiles, paints, printers Benzene, Toluene, Ethyl Benzene and Xylene. Photocopiers, particle board, Formaldehyde. It’ll be shown later in this article that the indoor plants used in indoor plant hire can get rid of the above chemicals.
Health effects of VOC exposure
Research in Europe and the U.S. demonstrates that many people in cities spend 90 percent of the time indoors, and productivity declines of up to 6 percent have been demonstrated in buildings in which the indoor air quality is poor.
Health effects from VOC exposure:
- Eye irritation / watering
- Nose irritation
- Throat irritation
- Bóle głowy
- Nausea / Vomiting
- Zawroty głowy
- Asthma exacerbation
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Central Nervous System damage
Most studies to date have been done on single chemicals. Less is know about the health effects of combined chemical exposure. The best health protection measure is to limit your exposure to materials and products that contain VOCs when possible.
It was found that health complaints by office employees have been rising since the seventies, and discovered that on average some 35 percent of office workers are dissatisfied with the interior environment and 20% suffer with health complaints like eye complaints and nose and throat irritations. In the same study he revealed the advantages that may accrue from having indoor plants at the office.
It’s well to keep in mind that indoor air can be found to be under the control of the employer and as such the employer might have duties and possible liabilities.
Indoor Plant Hire Benefits
Over the past twenty years, it’s been demonstrated that healthy indoor plants, as used in indoor plant hire, have the ability to remove VOCs in the indoor air. Research has proven that the system in action is the biological interaction between the plant roots and the potting mix, improving micro organisms present to “consume” the VOCs. Further more; their desire appears to increase with increased exposure to VOCs.
Where indoor TVOC load was over 100 parts per billion, indoor plants decreased the amount by up to 70 percent. Reducing the amount of plants per test location failed to lower the VOC levels eliminated, pointing to greater action by the micro organisms.
Research in Europe and the USA have demonstrated that in offices with indoor plants (compared to workplaces without plants) employee productivity gains of up to 12 percent have been measured, and on average health complaints associated with sick building syndrome decreased by 20%.
The above results have been produced with healthy indoor plants. Whilst in a house situation it’s possible to adequately keep indoor plants, this needs a professional indoor plant hire service in a workplace situation, where other responsibilities take priority. The writer has seen many offices were the team “looked after” the plants. In ninety nine percent of those situations the indoor plants were gruesome and as good as dead.