Plants and Air Quality (11-07-10)

A press release from Drexel indicates that plants may not be as effective at cleaning indoor air as thought.   This finding does not relate to plants’ ability to support cognitive refreshment, professional performance, and creativity, for example, as reported previously by Research Design Connections.  The Drexel team (Waring and Cummings) found that “Plants can help spruce up a home or office space, but claims about their ability to improve the air quality are vastly overstated. . . . A closer look at decades of research suggesting that potted plants can improve the air in homes and offices reveals that natural ventilation far outpaces plants when it comes to cleaning the air.‘This has been a common misconception for some time. Plants are great, but they don’t actually clean indoor air quickly enough to have an effect on the air quality of your home or office environment,’ said [Waring]. . . . according to Waring and Cummings’s calculations, it would take between 100 and 1,000 plants per square meter of floor space to compete with the air cleaning capacity of a building’s air handling system or even just a couple open windows in a house.” The Waring/Cummings study was published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.

“Study:  Actually, Potted Plants Don’t Improve Air Quality.”  2019.  Press release, Drexel University,