However, important questions exist as to whether plants can actually affect indoor air sufficiently to warrant their use as air cleaners.
Plant expert Butch Deedman owner of Deedman Plants said: “Research carried out in the USA has demonstrated that plants attract more than their fair share of dust. Particulate levels (including airborne spores) can be reduced by as much as 20% in some situations. This could lead to a reduction in the use of air cleaners (although not their replacement) and an improvement in indoor air quality.”
Butch Continued: “There is also a body of recent research from Australia and the USA that shows that interior plants are effective at removing a range of pollutants at relatively low planting densities in real office situations.”
Nearly everyone has read or heard a press story about how common house plants can affect indoor air quality. Many stories say spider plants or Boston ferns remove formaldehdye.
NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Lucky for us the plants can also help clean indoor air on Earth, which is typically far more polluted than outdoor air.
Some scientists and office landscapers (people who design and provide plant environments in buildings) say that National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research demonstrates the efficacy of plants as indoor air cleaners. They say the research, indicates the need for huge numbers of plants to remove indoor air contaminants as effectively as normal air exchange in an energy-efficient house or in a typical office building.
Research shows that plants clean indoor air. These scientists and other vigorous advocates say that plants have been cleaning the earth’s atmosphere for millions of years and that using plants is the most reasonable method for indoor air pollution control.
NASA research tested plants’ ability to clean indoor air for possible use in space stations. Even before awareness of indoor air pollution increased in the early 1980s, NASA had funded research on using plants to biologically treat waste water. Biological waste water treatment technology proved effective and is used at small- to medium-scale municipal sewage treatment plants and to reclaim water for irrigation.