Plants Provide a Natural Solution to Cleaner Indoor Air

When plants transpire water vapor from their leaves, they pull air down around their roots. This supplies their root microbes with oxygen. The root microbes also convert other substances in the air, such as toxic chemicals, into a source of food and energy. Microbes, such as bacteria, can rapidly adapt to a chemical contaminant by producing new colonies that are resistant to the chemical. As a result, they become more effective at converting toxic chemicals into food the longer they are exposed to the chemicals. It is also important to remember that the efficiency of plants as a filtering device increases as the concentration of chemicals in the air increases. For example, the removal rate of a chemical is much higher at 7 parts per million (ppm) exposure than at 2 ppm. (per study listed above.)

Beginning with the early data published by Dr. Bill Wolverton while and following his work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and including more recent ‘real world’ research lead by Dr. Ron Wood, Professor Margaret Burchett and others in Australia, we now know that several common species of interior landscape plants have the ability to remove compounds such as benzene and hexane in the range of 50% to 75% of the total volatile organic compounds. Internationally respected in the field of air quality reesarch, Dr. Margaret Burchett goes so far as to declare the following. “…to ensure sustainability of the urban environment, satisfying the ‘triple bottom line’ of environmental, social and economic considerations, it is expected that indoor plants will become standard technology–a vital building installation element, for improving indoor air quality.” More at