During this time of social distancing, most of us are spending much longer periods of time indoors, inside our homes. As a pediatric physician, I always recommend spending as much time as possible in nature, but not every family has the benefit of a backyard that’s easily accessible.
So, what can we do to improve our living space in the weeks ahead?
One of my favorite studies exploring the relationship of indoor plants and air quality was conducted by NASA back in 1989. I came across this study years ago, and often use it to validate to my husband any spontaneous purchases of Peace Lilies or English Ivy that I just had to have.
Anyway, this 2-year study entitled “Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement” was a joint effort with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America to see if houseplants could serve as a tool to combat indoor air pollution. You see, at that time, something called “Sick Building Syndrome” was becoming apparent in American workers confined in newly constructed/renovated office buildings. It was acknowledged during this study that various health problems (ranging from itchy eyes to headaches and fatigue) were due to the entrapment of toxic chemicals emitted from synthetic building materials, office equipment and office furnishings.
This is heavy stuff, right? These findings were attributed to 2 things: super-insulation and reduced fresh air exchange.
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