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Medical and Biomedical Sciences

How humble houseplants can improve your health

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29 June 2011 Video length icon 1:02:29
Video tags icon biomedical science, house plants, air pollution

The truth about indoor air quality and how plants really clear the air and calm the mind

Over 80% of Australians live in urban areas, spending 90% of their time indoors at work, school or in the home. Health costs of urban air pollution (UAP) is estimated by CSIRO at about $12 billion per annum, and NSW Health estimates UAP causes up to 2000 deaths each year in the Sydney metropolitan area alone.

Did you know that indoor air pollution is 2-10 times higher than the outdoors or that indoor plants reduce symptoms such as headaches, sore eyes, loss of concentration and feelings of depression? Indoor air is high in CO2 with harmful pollutants emitted from indoor 'plastic' or 'synthetic' furniture, furnishings and equipment like computers, copiers and solvents.

Professor Margaret Burchett and Dr Fraser Torpy report UTS research findings that prove how efficiently indoor plants can remove pollutants, cleanse stale air and reduce symptoms such as headaches, sore eyes, loss of concentration and feelings of 'stuffiness'. Discover the health benefits associated with the presences of indoor plants in raising spirits, reducing feelings of stress or fatigue and improving work productivity and performance.

About the speakers

Professor Margaret Burchett is a plant environmental toxicologist, with research interests in the benefits of plants in urban areas - their responses to pollution and their capacities to reduce and remediate pollution. Over the last 15 years she has led research in the UTS Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality Group focusing on the uses of potted-plants to reduce urban indoor air pollution and promote health and wellbeing for building occupants.

Dr Fraser Torpy is a microbial ecologist and biostatistician who has worked alongside Professor Burchett in the UTS Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality Group for over a decade. His primary research interests are the microbial and ecophysiological processes involved with the potted-plant effects on indoor air quality and the analysis of ecological data.
 

UTS Science in Focus is a free public lecture series showcasing the latest research from prominent UTS scientists and researchers.
 

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