The Brisbane City Council Libraries have been holding a series of "Sustainable Living" seminars. These are free and cover a range of topics from organic gardening to green motoring to eco-babies.
I attended the "Healthy Homes" one yesterday and it was about how plants can absorb the toxic compounds emitted by all the stuff we fill our homes with. Supposedly we're surrounded by roughly 350 different types right in our living rooms. I wasn't so interested in the topic but went along to keep my mother company. I did end up getting interested in the end.
From what I can remember, the speaker mentioned that there have been numerous experiments conducted on how plants improve well-being and productivity in the workplace. They have done experiments where employees were given questionnaires before and after plants being introduced and the results indicated that people felt less stressed with the plants around. I got this part of the results from the NIPA website:
Staff with one or more plants in their offices showed reductions in:
* Anxiety -37%
* Anger -44%
* Depression -58%
* Fatigue -38%
* Confusion -30%
* Overall Negativity -65%
* Overall Stress -50%
No-plant (Control group) showed the opposite trend:
* Increased Negativity +(20-40)%
And yet, the Australian parliament house supposedly removed all indoor plants recently in an effort to save costs. No wonder we've got such a muddled government at the moment.
The bit of research that really got me interested was one done on classrooms. The University of Technology in Sydney conducted some preliminary research on 360 children in Grades 6 and 7 and the effects of plants in their classrooms. They found that there was 14% improvement in Mathematics, 10% in Spelling and 11% in Science. Amazing isn't it? For the rest of the details, read the short report.
This was only a preliminary study and the first that specifically tried to measure the effects of the plants in the classroom. More research would be needed to provide formal confirmation but its enough to make me want to put plants inside our house now. We've got none at all right now.
So, are you sitting near a plant right now?