Best office plants that produce the most oxygen

Between work, home and other buildings, U.S. citizens are indoors about 90 percent of the time. This means that indoor air quality is one of the most critical environmental factors in human health. But, a 2017 EPA report asserts that indoor air quality is among the very worst of human health threats. The agency’s research finds that indoor air pollution is typically 200 to 500 percent more polluted than outdoor air, and it’s even worse in many buildings.


Indoor air pollutants are linked to a range of health conditions, such as asthma, allergies, increased COPD symptoms, fatigue, headaches, skin rashes, and a number of other health issues. Indoor air pollutants can include everything from cleaning and craftworks chemicals, VOC emissions from modern synthetic construction and furniture finishes, grooming products, particulates from cooking and many others.

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The Lung Institute suggests that air quality in building interiors should be managed in order protect human health. So what’s a low cost way to make a difference? Adding indoor plants.

Indoor plants are a natural measure you can take to help improve indoor air quality at work or home without any significant interior overhauls. Plants generate the oxygen that we humans breathe, and absorb the CO2 that we emit. This dual benefit that plants deliver to humans makes them an ideal resource for increasing workplace air quality.

NASA published its own study on the effects of indoor plants for cleaning the air in space stations back in 1989. The research found that all plants contribute to cleaning indoor air. However, the study discovered that some plants are more effective in helping eliminate certain chemical contaminants, such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.

Furthermore, poor air quality can cause a number of health effects that can negatively impact workers’ productivity and attendance. It can have a direct effect on both physical and mental functioning and overall efficiency. For employees with chronic respiratory conditions, improving air quality in the workplace can be a more serious need.

But fixing air quality starts with picking the right plants for your space.

Where plants fit into strategies for improving workplace air quality

There are many ways to maintain healthier indoor air quality, such as improving ventilation, avoiding use of VOC finishes, choosing furniture made of natural materials, using high-efficiency air filters on your HVAC system and/or air-purification equipment, sealing around windows and entry doors, diligently dusting and cleaning, using strong exhaust systems in areas where air pollution is generated and other methods.

Adding indoor plants remains a very appealing option for promoting healthier indoor air in office buildings and other workplaces. Plants deliver great value, performing double duty as air cleaners and natural, high-quality aesthetic features. For example, six to eight snake plants, or four shoulder-height areca palms, or just three 18-inch money plants produce enough oxygen to support one adult human in a sealed room. Plus, the room will look great dressed with all the plants.

For business managers looking to improve the workplace environment, increasing workplace air quality is an important start. The most effective approach to improving indoor air quality combines implementation of some of the technologies mentioned above, routine cleaning of surfaces and vents, and the addition of high-oxygen-producing plants.

Chad is a former VP of Marketing and Communications at Jotform. He’s also a frequent contributor to various tech and business publications, and an absolute wizard with a Vitamix. He holds a master’s degree in communication and resides with his wife and cats in Oakland, California.

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