In 1989, NASA released a report titled, “Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement.” Through a series of experiments, they tested to see whether indoor plants impacted indoor air pollution. They used a variety of plants, including Gerbera daisies, English ivy, Peace lilies, and bamboo palms, among others. They used sealed experiment chambers where plants were placed inside, in order to monitor the levels of airborne chemicals before and after. Ultimately, they found that various houseplants removed benzene, TCE, and formaldehyde—harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—from the air.
Although the NASA findings themselves are not argued, several scientists and professors have entered the debate to clarify the narrative that has since taken a life of its own.
Luz Claudio, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, states, “There are no definitive studies to show that having indoor plants can significantly increase the air quality in the home to improve health in a measurable way.”