The winter heating season has begun and people in homes and offices will potentially be exposed to harmful gases that are being released from our furniture, carpets, cooking appliances and even second hand smoke, from fireplaces and indoor smokers. What’s a person to do? The answer according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research is a very sophisticated pollution-absorbing device: the common houseplant.
Research has shown that living, green and flowering plants can remove multiple toxic chemicals from the air in building interiors. You can use plants in your home and office to improve the quality of air and to make the environment a more pleasant place.
Tightly sealed rooms, especially in office buildings, with beautiful, sometimes industrial furnishings, are proving to be hostile environments. All sorts of dangers lurk here — formaldehyde and benzene fumes released from building materials, furniture and carpeting, ozone from copying machines, fumes from cleaning solvents, radon and secondhand smoke. By improving the air quality of your home or office it may allow people to feel better, be happier and improve everyone’s overall health.
In addition to cleaning the air, houseplants also improve humidity and air quality by giving off water vapor and releasing oxygen.
Virtually every tropical indoor plant and many flowering plants are powerful removers of indoor air pollutants. And any plant helps lower carbon monoxide. One potted plant per 100 square feet of floor space can help clean the air in the average home or office. Below is a chart of plants from the NASA study showing those that most effectively removed pollutants from the air.

Source: Foliage for Clean Air Council, 405 N. Washington St., Falls Church, VA 22046. June