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  • Author or Editor: Creighton K. Thomas x
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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in homes and offices represent a potentially serious health problem for exposed individuals. While certain indoor plants have been shown to remove VOCs in small test chambers, the results have not consistently translated to larger, more complex structures. We report the results of a mathematical model that assesses the effect of plants on the removal of benzene or other VOCs in buildings, incorporating the primary variables modulating indoor air VOC concentration. Building air volume, amount of plant material, VOC concentration and air exchange, VOC emanation, and plant phytoremediation rates can be altered over ranges reported in the literature, clarifying the relationship among these parameters and thereby identifying the most appropriate interior air remediation options. The results indicate existing published phytoremediation rates determined using small test chambers are far higher than can be achieved with static potted plants in buildings, and facilitated air movement through the plant media will most likely be essential for phytoremediation to be a viable means of improving indoor air quality.

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