When developing our mission at Desk Plants, it was important for us to offer plants that could make a real difference in an indoor environment beyond the visual appeal. While in the planning and research stage we came across one particular study that has become a core inspiration for everything we do. Back in the late '80s NASA conducted a groundbreaking study to show which plants were effective at filtering chemical compounds in the air and producing oxygen. Including a few plants from NASA's list of 100 air cleaning plants in the office can have major impacts upon indoor workspaces given how toxic commercial buildings in urban areas have been found to be.
Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is the term coined by the World Health Organization to describe buildings containing high volumes of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Among the key contributors to SBS are commercial paints, building materials, and furniture. It is estimated that 30% of all commercial buildings worldwide can be classified as a "Sick Building." SBS conditions are known to cause acute symptoms such as headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. In the long run, depending on the contaminants present, serious adverse health conditions can develop.
Even if you work in a building that isn't considered to have SBS, it is likely that you are still being exposed to low levels of harmful toxins. In fact, 72% of all current buildings were built more than 20 years ago, back when these concerns were either not known about or not taken as seriously. According to the EPA, it is estimated that airborne pollutants are found to be between 2-5X more concentrated in indoor environments when compared to the air outdoors.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is invest in a few plants for your immediate space. Why? Because Photosynthesis! It's where our oxygen comes from, the process by which carbon dioxide and light are turned in to chemical energy by plants. Having this happen right near you while you grind through your day can have amazing benefits on your air quality helping you to feel better and less fatigued contributing to higher productivity. Not only are you getting higher amounts of fresh Oxygen, but buying plants from us will help to filter out some of the most common VOCs such as Benzene, Formaldehyde, Toluene and more.
Here are a few examples of our air-cleaning plants:
The Pothos is particularly effective at removing chemicals like benzene and trichloromethyl from the air. Benzene is commonly found in glue, paint and detergent.
Beyond producing high levels of Oxygen, the Sansevieria plant removes chemical compounds from the air, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen monoxide, formaldehyde, chloroform, benzene, xylene and trichloroethylene. These toxins are commonly found in manufactured goods and cleaning products and can lead to respiratory ailments, headaches and an increased risk of cancer long term.
ZZ Plant >
Among other substances, the ZZ Plant has been effective at removing xylene, toluene, benzene and ethylbenzene from the air in closed environments. Those particular toxins are commonly found in industrial paints, lubricants, solvents, common construction materials used in commercial buildings as well as gasoline.