We all know that the air we breathe is vital, but as even heavily polluted air can often be undetectable to the human eye or nose, it can easily hide in plain sight. Toxins are given off by a large range of items in our homes and workplaces which can be detrimental to our health and, given we spend a great deal of our time indoors (up to 93%), it’s certainly worth considering what could be polluting our indoor air and how we could go about bringing it to healthier levels.
Air monitoring and purification company Foobot recently published a list of 10 sources of indoor air pollution commonly found in our homes and offices. Some of the items may surprise you.
Some of the most common types of indoor pollutants are from the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) family. Harmful VOCs can release into the air and cause long-term health problems, affecting among other things, the respiratory and immune systems. Items such as air fresheners (yes, ironic), paints, cleaning products, furniture and carpets, mould and fungi all emit harmful VOCs and are all commonly found in everyday indoor environments.
Other culprits are construction materials (think of all the dust in the air when the builders are in), pets, combustion appliances and even flowering plants, if pollen is not your friend.
All of these and more can be steadily releasing a range of unseen pollutants into your indoor air, and given we don’t or can’t often open our windows to properly ventilate our rooms, it’s easy to see how this pollution can build up. Aside from the risk to our health, stale air can also affect our concentration and energy levels – not conducive to a productive day!
As interior landscapers, we feel we have an easy, natural and aesthetically pleasing solution to the problem of indoor air quality. Live plants are real powerhouses. The right specimens in the right place can ‘scrub’ your home or office air clean of many of the commonly found pollutants, including harmful VOCs, at the same time raising the humidity levels, dampening echoes and other loud noises and providing a link to the natural world which has a restorative effect all of its own. Many studies have proven just how effective office plants are at improving air quality and subsequent employee health in workplaces – NASA was on the case 20 years ago, with its ground-breaking study on how plants combat air pollution, a report so convincing it is still regularly cited today.
If you want to know just what is going on with your indoor air at work or at home, we can heartily recommend Foobot’s products. We have been fascinated to see just how poor our office air quality can get without plants, and how it improves when we bring them back into the room, but it also prompts us to either open the window or get outside at lunchtime to recharge. Foobot also offers a range of products which can help you take your air quality to the next level.
It’s fairly obvious that fresh air means good health, but with indoor air, it can easily become a case of out of sight, out of mind. If we were all a bit more aware of what is in our atmosphere, and mindful to take even small steps towards freshening and cleaning our precious air, we could all breathe easy.
Find out more about the health benefits of plants here.