Health Studies

NASA Recommends These Plants to Detoxify the Air You Breathe

During the 1980s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began looking for ways to protect air quality in its space stations. The agency conducted research to learn which flora were most effective in detoxifying air. They were looking for plants that would filter toxic substances from the air and convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. The results of the study were published in 1989. NASA presented a definitive list of detoxifying plants.

Here are some of the chemicals that commonly pollute indoor air:

Trichloroethylene – This chemical is in printing inks, paints, lacquers, varnishes, adhesives, and paint removers. Short-term exposure can cause symptoms such as: excitement, dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting, then drowsiness and coma.

Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde is present in paper bags, waxed papers, facial tissues, paper towels, plywood paneling, and synthetic fabrics. Short-term exposure results in symptoms such as: irritation to nose, mouth and throat, and in severe cases, swelling of the larynx and lungs.

Benzene – Benzene is present in plastics, resins, lubricants, detergents, and drugs. It is also in tobacco smoke, glue, and furniture wax. Short-term exposure can cause symptoms such as: irritation to eyes, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, increase in heart rate, headaches, confusion and in some cases can result in unconsciousness.

Xylene – This chemical is in rubber, leather, tobacco smoke, and vehicle exhaust. Short-term exposure may cause symptoms such as: irritation to mouth and throat, dizziness, headache, confusion, heart problems, liver and kidney damage and coma.

Ammonia – This chemical is extremely common, but dangerous. It is in window cleaners, floor waxes, smelling salts, and fertilizers. Short-term exposure can cause symptoms such as eye irritation, coughing, sore throat.

Here is NASA’s list of recommended plants for removing dangerous chemicals from the air you breathe:

Dwarf Date Palm
Boston Fern
Kimberley Queen Firm
Spider Plan
Chinese Evergreen
Bamboo Palm
Weeping Fig
Devil’s Ivy
Flamingo Lily
Broadleaf Lady Palm
Barberton Daisy
Cornstalk Dracaena
English Ivy
Varigated Snake Plant
Red-Edged Dracaena
Peace Lily
Florist’s Chrysanthemum

NASA recommends you use one plant for every 100 square feet of area in your home or business.