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Evaluation of Two House Plants for Indoor Air Purification

YAU Yiu-hung,HO Kin-chung,XU Jing-liang,LEUNG Kwan-lung,LEUNG Yu-hin(Environmental Studies & Safety Science,School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong,Hong Kong SAR,China)  
Common indoor plants Aloe vera and Sansevieria trifasciata were selected for a 16-day formaldehyde exposure in a relatively confined environment,to investigate their formaldehyde absorption capabilities and air purification efficiencies.S.trifasciata was found having a higher formaldehyde tolerance than A.vera.It maintained health in the whole exposure with continuously high formaldehyde removal rate(up to 92.6%).Relatively,A.vera had lower tolerance to formaldehyde.Although it showed higher formaldehyde removal rate(94.6%) than S.trifasciata on the first 4 days,it began to wilt on day 8 and released the adsorbed formaldehyde afterwards.However,the two plants released a great deal amount of volatile organic compounds(VOCs) while they absorbed formaldehyde.Since VOCs are also air pollutants,a more comprehensive consideration is needed when evaluating the efficiency of indoor plants for air purification,i.e.not only to pay attention to the removal rate of target pollutants,but also to investigate the formation of secondary pollutants.
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