Toxins in the work place - What are they and where do they come from?

Posted By Roxy Truss  
18:48 PM

In my last blog post about the Benefits of Indoor Plants, I spoke about the aesthetics that plants bring to the workplace and the mental benefits on customers and employees who have natural living greenery inside.


We know plants create oxygen. We perhaps already know they eliminate toxins. But what EXACTLY are they eliminating and how does it benefit you? The below list of Volatile Organic Compound’s (VOC’s) are some of the common pollutants we have in our workplaces –


  • Trichloroethene – Found in printer inks, paints, adhesives and varnishes.


  • Formaldehyde – Found in some paper towels, tissues, paper bags, and plywood.


  • Benzene – Found in plastics, detergents, glue, furniture, lubricants and more.


  • Xylene – Found in rubber and leather furniture


  • Ammonia – Common in window cleaners, artificial room fragrances, fertiliser and floor waxes.


  • Nitrogen Dioxide(NO2) – This gas can become prevalent in workplaces that are close to high motor traffic areas. NO2 is formed from the emission of vehicles and some factories exhausts.


  • Suspended Particle Matter – This is particles from liquids we may use such as cleaning agents, aromas, air fresheners, insecticides etc which become too small for the naked eye to see.


Symptoms from the above toxins may cause; ear, nose and throat irritation, worsening of asthma symptoms, dizziness, headaches, nausea and much more.


There have been numerous studies like the one found here by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, that state the average person can spend up to 90% of their time indoors where the air quality can be 2 to 5 times higher in pollutants than outside.

There are some plants that are better at filtering than others, however the study conducted by NASA stated that plants would actually acclimatise to their surrounding and become more efficient in reducing whichever VOC was more prevalent in its surroundings.


The positives of indoor plants in the home and workplace are certainly massive. This is why we are passionate about creating cleaner, fresher and more ambient spaces across Perth’s commercial and residential spaces.