Office Plants Help us Stay Healthy at Work

Professor Tove Fjeld of the Agricultural University in Oslo, Norway carried out several conclusive studies regarding health claims relating to Sick Building Syndrome among office workers. This crossover study was conducted among 51 offices over two years.
When plants were included in the offices, study participants were exposed to 13 commonly used foliage plants. The score sum of 12 symptoms was 23% lower during the period when participants had plants in their offices. This translated into a 14% decrease in absenteeism.

The problem is large and growing. Contemporary buildings are sealed tightly to increase efficiency. Inside those sealed environments man-made articles such as paints, plastics, insulation, plywood, carpets, synthetic fabrics and detergents emit up to 300 harmful pollutants. However, leafy green help is available.

Palm plants have helped cure staff at an aerospace company of headaches, nausea and itchy eyes. When a new industrial photocopier was installed at 'VT Aerospace', in Dorset staff soon became unwell.

An Interior Landscaping firm suggested installing some palms, which are believed to remove office pollution.

After three weeks staff said their symptoms were disappearing. When the palms were removed the symptoms returned during a week of heavy photocopier use, and symptoms disappeared again within three days of the palms' return.

It is not just photocopiers that cause problems; modern office suffer airborne pollutants from various things such as carpets, ceiling tiles and air conditioning. Research has shown that plants are effective at restoring air quality.

VT Aerospace proposals manager Sid Harding said 'we were not sure at first if the result was simply psychological, but when the plants were removed I had a headache every evening which disappeared once they came back.'

It is recommended one potted plant for each 100 square feet of floor space.

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