The NASA Clean Air Study has been led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in association with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA).
Its results suggest that certain common indoor plants may provide a natural way of removing toxic agents such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air, helping neutralize the effects of sick building syndrome.
Their Clean Air study found the plants below are effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air‚chemicals that have been linked to health effects like headaches and eye irritation.
NASA researchers suggest efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.
The list is ranked in order of plant effectiveness in a typical home according to Dr Wolverton. So the 1st plant in the list (Areca Palm) is the most effective and the 28th (Kalanchoe) is the least.
Given that people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, air quality matters. Furnishings, upholstery, synthetic building materials, and cleaning products in homes and offices can emit a variety of toxic compounds, like formaldehyde.
Adding potted plants to a room has been shown to reduce the number of air particulates.
Beyond air quality, plants just make people feel better.
For example, hospital patients with plants in their rooms were more positive and had lower blood pressure and stress levels. Similarly, indoor plants may make people smarter by allowing them to stay alert and reducing mental fatigue