Research matters ... plants and human health

In an earlier report (HW, 23 April), these authors showed that certain plants such as Fatsia japonica could remove formaldehyde from the air in new buildings. The present investigation involved 82 households in a newly-built apartment complex in South Korea.

One group had plants in their apartments while the other did not. Various plants were grown, including Ficus elastica, Spathiphyllum spp, Epipremnum aureum and Fatsia japonica. Potted plants were introduced in October and assessments of sick-building syndrome were made immediately after that as well as in January, when the apartments were usually relatively airtight, and in July, when they were usually ventilated.

The health of one householder was also surveyed in detail. The residents apparently suffered symptoms of sick-building syndrome for up to two years after construction. Somewhat surprisingly, the symptoms were not significantly reduced either by the presence of plants alone or by ventilation alone, but they were reduced when these factors were combined.

Some symptoms of mental illness were also lowered when plants were present in summer. Although plants were able to reduce the toxicity of air in new buildings, the benefit was found to be greater when ventilation was also used.

Evaluating the Relative Health of Residents in Newly Built Apartment Houses According to the Presence of Indoor Plants by Kim, Park, Yang, Kim, Lee, Shin and Lim (2010). Journal of the Japanese Society for Horticultural Science 79 (2): 200-206. The authors' abstract is available online at www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/jjshs1.

Dr Ken Cockshull is emeritus fellow at Warwick HRI


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Choosing the right plant, correct planting procedure and best aftercare are the three basic rules for sucessful tree planting, Sally Drury explains.

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Tree planting - what are the benefits of planting trees?

Mitigating climate change, providing windbreaks and reducing the risk of soil erosion are some of the best reasons for planting trees, says Sally Drury.

Tree and shrubs - nursery market

Tree and shrubs - nursery market

Growers are more optimistic now that garden designers and landscape architects are seeking more mature trees and shrubs, writes Sally Drury.


Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

At the time of writing - a few days after the general election - sterling has weakened and we still have no idea of what Brexit means.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles