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Allergens and Air Quality Concerns from Indoor Plants


The indoor environmental quality (IEQ) professionals at Clark Seif Clark (CSC) provide comprehensive consulting and testing services to determine of indoor plants are causing a degraded environment for building occupants.

The use of plants in indoor environments can create what appears to be a more pleasant environment for building occupants. Research has shown there are several intangible benefits to maintaining live plants in work environments, which are not easy to measure or quantify. However, there are a wide variety of tangible drawbacks to the presence of live plants in indoors work or residential environments.

Listed below are some of the benefits and disadvantages of maintaining live plants in the work environment.

Advantages of live plants indoors:

• Some research has shown that by causing people to be more relaxed, live indoor plants can lower blood pressure and reduce reported headaches, thereby improving worker productivity and job satisfaction
• In dry environments, indoor plants can increase humidity levels closer to a comfortable range
• There can be a cooling effect by indoor landscapes from plant transpiration
• Strategically placed plants can act as acoustic decrease noise levels

Disadvantages of live plants indoors:

• They provide indoor habitats for insects and rodents
• Proliferation of allergens including molds, bacteria and pollens
• Water damage (staining, rust, swelling, etc.) to building materials due to leaks from over watering
• Planters become a catch all for occupants to dump unused portions of drinks leading to rot unpleasant odors
• Chemicals (i.e. fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides) used during plant maintenance may be irritate or intoxicate occupants
• In high humidity environments, plant transpiration and evaporation of water from moist soil may increase the already elevated relative humidity

Clark Seif Clark, a leading provider of indoor environmental and indoor air quality (IAQ) testing services, has decades of experience in helping clients weigh the advantages and disadvantages of plants in the workplace, “The IAQ related issues associated with live plants in the work place are generally associated with the selection of allergen-producing plants, with improper enclosure design or installation, and with insufficient maintenance of the plants,” reported Derrick A. Denis, V.P. Indoor Environmental Quality at CSC. “Without proper planning and vigilant maintenance, going green with indoor plants can result in damaged buildings and infirm occupants.”

To learn more about how CSC can help with IAQ or environmental issues please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118.

About Clark Seif Clark (CSC)
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both the public and private sectors address environmental issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.


 Indoor Air Quality

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