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Friday, September 4, 2009

Article: Indoor plants can be harmful to health

Indoor plants are something that can be found in a huge number of homes, offices, and other such structures (airports, malls, etc). They are kept there since they add a certain aesthetic value to the whole place, and people believe that plants add a certain touch of nature to the surroundings; it is a common belief that having plants indoors is beneficial to health. However, a new study is challenging that belief, and stating that emissions from indoor plants may cause some harm to human health (link to article):

Potted plants might add a certain aesthetic value to your house, but they are likely to have adverse health effects, suggests a new study. The research team headed by Stanley J. Kays of the University of Georgia's Department of Horticulture has shown that these indoor plants actually release volatile organic compounds into the environment.
During the study, they identified and measured the amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by four popular indoor potted plant species Peace Lily, Snake Plant, Weeping Fig and Areca Palm. A total of 23 volatile compounds were found in Peace Lily, 16 in Areca Palm, 13 in Weeping Fig, and 12 in Snake Plant. Some of the VOCs are ingredients in pesticides applied to several species during the production phase.

So, it is not only the plants, but even the soil containing micro-organisms, as well as the plastic pots in which these plants are kept, that is harmful. Further, the study claims that these harmful emissions happen more during daytime than during night, and that is time when there would be more human activity.

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