Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Facts about plants and healthier indoor air

Can house plants provide healthier indoor air?
Poor indoor air quality has been linked to health problems, especially in children and other vulnerable groups.

In today's homes and offices, indoor air is contaminated by particles, VOCs, flame retardants, pesticides, toxic metals and other pollutants, most of which come from indoor sources.

There are many ways people can improve their indoor air quality – and plants have been touted as one option.

A recent article in Environmental Health Perspectives shed some light on the pros and cons of using plants to purify the air in indoor environments.

Here are some of the article highlights:
  • Plants remove carbon dioxide and return oxygen to the air, and some plants can remove toxic chemicals
  • Using plants for better IAQ has been explored by NASA, but the best results were observed when the contaminated air was circulated through the root system, something homeowners may not be able to recreate easily.
  • In the studies that are cited, the plants are used in combination with activated carbon filters, or they are grown on an activated carbon pellet mix
  • Some plants for common IAQ concerns:
    Formaldehyde: Ferns, especially Osmunda japonica, commonly known as Japanese royal fern, or zenmai
    Mercury vapor: Plants of the bromeliad family, Spanish moss
    Benzene and TCE: Golden pothos, also known as devil’s ivy

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Indoor Allergen Committee suggested in a 2010 report that allergists consider indoor air filtration to be part of a comprehensive strategy to improve respiratory health.

While plants remain an option, the authors point out that more research needs to be done to accurately predict the usability of plants in indoor air filtration.

With regards to room air purifiers, the article warns about some air purifiers that do not reduce all levels of indoor air pollutants and some air purifiers that produce dangerous ozone.

This is something AllerAir’s air quality experts have been saying for years.
Activated carbon is the best material to
adsorb toxic chemicals and odors.

“There are a lot of air purifiers on the market, but many of them only use particle filters like HEPA, which don’t remove toxic chemicals, odors and gases,” says AllerAir’s Stephanie Bristow.

“The air purifiers from AllerAir contain a complete filtration system with HEPA for particles, a deep-bed activated carbon filter for chemicals, gases and odors and other filter options such as UV for biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses and mold.”

AllerAir air purifiers for the home and office do not produce harmful byproducts and they put the focus on large activated carbon filters for the best odor and chemical control possible.

Activated carbon has been proven effective in the removal of airborne chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene, TCE vapors and hundreds of other chemicals and odors.

"An air purifier with carbon and HEPA is an easy and cost-effective solution for people lacking the patience to grow and maintain plants, especially if they don’t have a green thumb," Bristow added.

Contact AllerAir to find out more and get a personalized recommendation based on your needs and requirements, your budget and the size of your space.

Source: Environmental Health Perspectives