Guided by the philosophy of the Circle of Harmony and Health, the Institute for Healthy Air Water & Soil works to help people understand the connections between their health and their environment.

Indoor Air Quality:

“Plants produce their own food through a process called photosynthesis. This means they take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen. Photosynthesis "cleans" our air by absorbing carbon dioxide and by taking in certain other pollutants as well.

A team of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) researchers lead by Dr. Bill Wolverton tested the effect of fifteen house plants on three pollutants known to be present in spacecrafts. These same three pollutants--benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene--are present in homes and office buildings. They occur because they are emitted from furnishings, office equipment and some building materials.

The NASA researchers suggest that for the test plants to be effective "air cleaners" it is necessary to use 1 potted plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.”

-Laura Pottorff, Cooperative Extension, Colorado State University

Where Can these Pollutants Appear?

Office

Common office materials like printing vapor, synthetic fibers of furniture and carpet, furniture glue, plywood, and particle board release formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene into the air. These chemicals can cause eye, ear, nose and throat irritation, increased heart rate, headache, asthma attacks. These plants can scrub your indoor air to increase work outcomes for the entire office.

Hospital

Every hospital patient deserves their own personal garden. Not only do plants promote healing, but a variety of airborne toxins such as ammonia, xylene, and formaldehyde, contaminate the indoor air of hospitals which can cause people to feel sick longer. These plants scrub the air of toxins from cleaning agents and other medical activities that are common in hospitals and other medical facilities.

Home

Our households are very busy places from the kitchen to the DIY project spaces. Kitchen activities and DIY projects cause airborne pollutants which can cause eye, ear, nose, and throat irritation and cough. Paper products like napkins and paper towels release formaldehyde and many cleaners contain ammonia. DIY projects can include the use of adhesives, sprays, glues, paints, and lacquers that release airborne toxins such as xylene, and trichloroethylene.

What’s in the Air?

Formaldehyde

  • In paper bags, wax paper, facial tissue, paper towels, napkins, particle board, plywood, synthetic fibers, paints, wallpapers, glues, adhesives, varnishes, lacquers
  • Causes ear, nose, and throat irritation, larynx and lung inflammation

Benzene

  • In plastics, synthetic fibers, detergent, drugs, pesticides, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust
  • Causes eye irritation, increased heart rate, headache

Xylene

  • From printing, leather/paint industry, tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust
  • Causes throat irritation, headache, heart, liver, and kidney problems

Trichloroethylene

  • From printing ink, paint, lacquer, adhesives, paint remover
  • Causes headache, dizziness, nausea

Ammonia

  • In household or industrial cleaners and fertilizer
  • Causes eye irritation, cough, sore throat


Plants in the Healthy Plants Collection Help By:

  • Scrub indoor air of toxins
  • Reduce stress level
  • Improves mood and decrease stress-related depression
  • Improve sickness and injury recovery
  • Improve job satisfaction
  • Increase concentration and memory
  • Increases compassion and empathy
  • Increases energy level