According to a study by chemistry professor Vadoud Niri and his team at State University of New York at Oswego, houseplants are a good way to absorb volatile chemical compounds in the air. These compounds, commonly found in paints, furniture, printers, cleaning supplies and even dry-cleaned clothes, can have adverse health effects. Some plants are more effective in absorbing certain chemicals than others; crassula argentea (jade plant) is very good at absorbing toluene, emitted by cars, gasoline, kerosene, heating oil, paints and lacquers.
These bromeliads can liven up your house with a hint of red, but they are also great air purifiers when it comes to benzene. The plant can absorb more than 90% of the chemical, which you can find in glue, paint, furniture wax and detergent. You may also breathe it in if you live near gas stations, hazardous waste sites or industrial facilities.
Caribbean tree cactus —
The Caribbean tree cactus can absorb 80% of ethylbenzene in the air. The toxic chemical can be found in items such as construction materials, electronic products, food packaging, furniture, garden care products and even toys.
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Consider decorating with dracaena plants, which can absorb more than 90% of acetone. It's found in common products such as nail polish remover or household cleaners. Living near a busy road or a facility that manufactures paints, plastics, chemicals, artificial fibers and shoes would also increase your risk of breathing in the toxic gas.
If you work in an office in front of a computer or near printers, spathiphyllum wallisii or peace lily can help keep you healthy. They absorb electromagnetic radiation emitted by computers and printers and keep the air moisturized.