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Air-Purifying Houseplants and Other Myths

It’s an enticing idea, creating little biomes in our homes filled with crisp plant-purified air. Nurseries market it and plant blogs post articles titled, 20 Best Plants for Cleaning the Air.

It’s not true.

This myth originated in the 1980s when NASA scientist, Bill Wolverton, studied cleaning volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air in small hermetically sealed environments. His results were promising. In his 1989 report, he writes, “If man is to move into closed environments, on Earth or in space, he must take along nature’s life support system.”

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