Real life office studies have proven the direct relationship between clinical health complaints and plant installations. Sick Building Syndrome is a serious and expensive issue, and the degree to which interior plants can positively affect employees’ health is an important issue in today’s workplace.
Professor Tove Fjeld of the Agricultural University in Oslo, Norway carried out several conclusive studies regarding health claims relating to Sick Building Syndrome among workers. This crossover study was conducted among 51 offices. During one period, plants were included in the offices. And during another, plants were not included. All participants worked in identical, single offices, with a floor area of ten square meters and a window covering most of the outer wall. When plants were included, the participants were exposed to 13 commonly used foliage plants placed in three containers on a window bench, and a terracotta container with plants in the back corner of the office. When reviewing 12 of the common symptoms most often related to poor indoor air quality and ‘sick building syndrome,’ there was a 23% lower complaint rate during the period when the participants had plants in their offices. If the symptoms were clustered, a significant reduction was obtained in neuro-psychological symptoms and in mucous membrane symptoms, while skin symptoms seemed to be unaffected by the plant intervention (Field et al 1998).