The ability of indoor plants to improve air quality: Contrary to the prevailing view that indoor plants are known to better the air quality, a new decision has said the opposite! While they can assist spruce up a home or office space, their capacity to improve the air quality is much exaggerated, according to the research declared in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology.
“This has been a popular misconception for some time. Plants are great, but they don’t clean indoor air quickly enough to affect the air quality of your home or office setting,” stated Michael Waring, PhD, an associate professor of design & environmental engineering in Drexel’s College of Engineering.
Researchers studied a dozen studies, crossing 30 years of research, to draw their conclusions.
Their central finding is that the natural or ventilation air exchange rates in indoor environments, like homes and offices, dilute concentrations of volatile organic compounds.
the air pollution that plants are supposedly cleaning -much faster than plants can remove them from the air.
The high profile trial that appeared to create the myth of houseplants as air purifiers appeared in 1989 when NASA,
in search of ways to clear the air on space stations, declared that plants could be used to eliminate cancer-causing chemicals from the air.
But the problem experiment, others like it, they conducted in a sealed chamber in a lab – a contained setting that has little in common with a house or office.
“Typical studies, a potted plant placed sealed chamber (often with a volume of a cubic meter or smaller), single VOC injects, and its decay track over many hours or days,” wrote the researchers. The current study’s data from books of potted plant analysis one step farther, by using it to determine a measure named the “clean air delivery rate,” or “CADR.”
They were able to do this thought for nearly all of the studies and what they found in every case was that the point at which plants dissipated VOCs in a chamber was orders of degree slower than the standard rate of air exchange in a building.
it is thus proving the plants’ overall impact on indoor air condition to be irrelevant.
“The CADR is the official metric used for the experimental study of the results of air-purifiers on indoor conditions,
but many of the researchers leading these studies were not looking at them from an environmental engineering view and did not understand how building air exchange relations interaction with the plants to influence indoor air quality,” Waring said.
The ability of indoor plants to improve air quality, Studies show reduction concentration volatile organic compounds time, have people seized them extol air-purifying virtues plants. But according to findings in the current study, it would get between 10 and 1,000 plants per square meter of floor area to compete with the air cleaning ability of a building’s air-handling system or also just a couple of open windows in a house.
“This is certainly a case of how scientific conclusions can be misleading or distorted over time. But it’s also a fabulous example of how scientific inquiry should continually re-examine and question findings of growing closer to the ground truth of understanding what’s happening around us,” Waring said.