In the 1980s as more and more people flocked to poorly ventilated offices, they began to notice a worrying trend: people were coughing, getting headaches and even having trouble breathing — and the problem appeared to let up only when they left work.
Now known as Sick Building Syndrome, the findings were the first to suggest that our indoor air — just like our outdoor air — could contain harmful pollutants. More info about each of these pollutants can be found beneath the graphic below.
So NASA partnered up with America’s foremost landscape association in to study what types of plants were best for absorbing these harmful particles. Here are five of the best plants for sucking up pollutants in indoor air:
Benzene: used to make glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents
Formaldehyde: found in building materials, insulation, and wood resins
Trichloroethylene (TCE): used to make building materials, electronics, and furniture
Xylene: used to make polyester, dyes, paints, lacquers, and insecticides
Toluene: used to make paints, finishes, adhesives, and car products
Ammonia: used to make household cleaners, refrigeration units, fertilisers, and fuels