The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done studies indicating that indoor air pollution is a more consistent threat to your health than outdoor pollution. This pollution comes primarily from volatile organic chemicals (VOC) like formaldehyde that are present in new building materials such as carpeting, paneling, cabinets, fabrics, etc. This pollution can be reduced with proper air filtration by an electronic air filter, by certain plants, or both. I wrote about my favorite air filters here, but I recommend you also think about having plants that promote clean air in your environment.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has spent two decades researching plants that remove toxic chemicals from the air for use in space stations. The following five plants have been found to be particularly effective in clearing the air of formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.
Plants Effective at Clearing the Air of Volatile Organic Chemicals:
- Mass cane (Dracaena Massangeana)
- Pot mum (Chrysanthemum Morifolium)
- Gerbera daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)
- Warnecki (Dracaena Deremensis “Warneckei”)
- Ficus (Ficus Benjamina)
- Rubber tree (Ficus Elastica)
Other plants that are effective at general air purification are as follows:
- English ivy (Hedera Helix)
- Marginata (Dracaena Marginata)
- Mother-in-laws tongue (Sansevieria Laurentii)
- Peace lily (Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”)
- Chinese Evergreen (Algona “Silver queen”)
- Banana (Musa Oriana)
- Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii)
- Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron Oxycardium)
- Green spider plant (Chlorophytum Elatum)
- Janet Craig (Dracaena Deremensis)
If you have children or pets, please note that some of these plants are poisonous when taken internally. Give special consideration to placement of these plants in your household. However, if placed safely above child/pet level, using nature to help purify the air is a great strategy.